**Make the Start and End of Math Class Count**

Focusing on the start and end of math class can have a huge impact on student learning. The beginning of class helps set the tone for what is to follow and can give you valuable information about your students. Utilizing the end of class effectively can help reiterate and solidify what your students learned that day in class.

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**Starting Class: Creating an Effective Warm-up**

Warm-up problems can be tricky. My first few years of teaching, I had some major problems with my warm-up routine. I put up a couple of problems each day and had a turn in basket for students to turn them in. I rarely ended up looking through them or grading them. What I ended up with was a group of students who consistently participated in the warm-up and another group who rarely participated.

Gradually, my system for using a warm-up evolved. What I found to be most effective was for students to complete a daily check each day as their warm-up. Each daily check includes four problems from the previous day's topic, each at a different level ranging from Beginning, Developing, Proficient, and Advanced. I use the problems in my 6th Grade Math Exit Slips Bundle and 8th Grade Math Exit Slips Bundle for my problems. You can also try this Free Sample of 6th Grade Exit Slips to see if these would work for you! Students complete the problems to the best of their ability before you come around and collect their sheets. After collecting them, you can go over the four problems together. The majority of the time, these daily checks are graded and entered in the grade book, which quickly solves the problem of some students not participating! If you have longer class periods this is a great option. This whole routine usually takes up about 15-20 minutes. With a shorter class period, an abbreviated version of this routine could also be set up, with either fewer problems or possibly not going over the problems after students finish.

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**Ending Class: Making it Stick**

I sometimes find it hard to set aside a few minutes at the end of class to wrap up the lesson. However, I think it is extremely important to make the effort to have some sort of quick "wrap up" activity so that students are thinking about what they were supposed to learn that day. Below are four of my favorites that I have used to end class throughout my teaching career!

**1. Simple Post-it Check**

This one is the easiest and quickest! Pass out a Post-it note to each student, throw a problem or two up on the board, and have them stick their work on the door on the way out. I usually don't have these problems planned, but rather just make up one or two problems based on that day's lesson.

**2. Partner Post-it Check**

If you have a little more time at the end of class, my students have really enjoyed doing this activity. They each get two different colored Post-it notes. On the first color, they create a problem that coincides with the lesson from that day. I usually give some parameters so they problems don't get too crazy! For example, in the multiplying fractions activity pictured above, all of their numerators and denominators had to be between 1 and 20. Once they all have a problem created, I collect the problems and redistribute. Each student must complete the problem they get on their second colored Post-it. When finished, they stick them back to back and turn in as they leave class!

**3. My Favorite No**

I forgot where I found this one, but it is a lot of fun and creates and environment where mistakes are okay! I do the Simple Post-it Check I described above, however I go around and collect them as they finish. As I take them, I look for "My Favorite No," which is my favorite mistake I see. Without using names, we go over that mistake together as a class.

**4. Find the Mistake**

If you are really short on time at the end of class and don't have time to do a full Post-it check, this is a quick way to get students thinking about that day's lesson. I do a problem on the front board and intentionally make a mistake. Students need to watch and raise their hand as soon as they see the mistake!

What are your favorite ways to start and end math class? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comment section below!