I quickly mentioned the Readiness Checker idea a few posts ago, as a new idea I got from another teacher. I want to revisit it here, now that school has been under way for a few weeks. I have to say, it is simply excellent. In the past, I've done a variety of readiness checks, with various degrees of success. This is working better than any other method I've tried.
So here's how it works. To be ready, students must, *by the time the bell rings* do the following:
- Take out binder
- Take out homework (and Readiness Checker)
- Have a pencil sharp and ready
- Put backpack in back of the room
- Begin working on the Do Now
If all of those things are completed, the student earns a sticker or stamp on their Readiness Checker. When the checker is filled in (I currently have 9 spaces on mine, but will probably extend it to 12 for the next round), it turns into a "get out of homework" pass. This has the benefit of putting a nice positive incentive on being ready for class, no negative consequence, and it is not directly tied to points in the grade.
It has been working like a charm in my 9th grade Numeracy classes. Most of the time, I have at least 3/4 of the students earn a sticker (often more), which lets class start quietly, focused, and on track. Of course, there are off days (like Friday afternoons), but overall this has been a fantastic new innovation. If you teach students that have difficulty getting started, I highly recommend a system like this. A couple of our 12th grade English teachers are doing this too (I was surprised, but they say the students love it.) Best of all, there is no added management on your part - if the student loses their checker, give them a nice new blank one. (So far, though homework sometimes "gets lost", I haven't had a single student lose their Readiness Checker. What a surprise! :)