Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler How much time do you have for . . .

  • How much time do you have for . . .

    Posted by Katrien Vance on June 5, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Hello!  I just downloaded the wonderful warm-ups Kyle and Jon sent via email today.  They caused me to wonder:  how long are most people’s classes?  How much time do you devote to a warm-up?  Do you try to connect the subject of the warm-up to the subject of the lesson, or is the idea that all thinking is good thinking?    Please don’t answer theoretically.  Give me real-world, your-experience, nuts-and-bolts answers.   For example, I have 45 minutes of math 5 days a week.  Sometimes 50 minutes, but usually 45.  If I use a warm-up, I often end up looking at the clock and realizing I have only 15 minutes left.  I love encouraging exploration and problem-solving, but I also need time to anchor it to something and make it repeatable for the kids . . . don’t I?

    • This discussion was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  Jon Orr.
    Kyle Pearce replied 3 years, 4 months ago 9 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Jon

    June 5, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Hey @katrienvance

    In my class we spend about 5-15 minutes on the warm ups from our warm up file. I have a total of 75 minutes/day 5 days a week (semestered).

    Most times I want the warm ups to not be directly related to the day’s learning goal. This allows our spiralling to flow a little nicer.  It allows us to also discuss most major strands each week.

    I love that by spending 10 minutes working on a linear pattern once a week allows us to become very proficient at knowing all the ways to represent linear relations without having to spend one full period on it.

    I think anchoring a warm up is important. However, you may want to choose a micro goal to anchor them to. Then when you tackle a main learning goal in let’s say a whole period you can fall back on the micro work you did during warm ups.

  • Shawn Hershey

    June 8, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Great questions.   I like the warm ups that you are referring to also and I think it will help with the spiraling.  I like what Jon said that by spending 10 minutes in a warm up you are actually gaining a day or two with the linear relations.  I also believe the students will be better at solving equations which will save you time as you consistently come back to it weekly.  Sorry, I do not have real world experience with this yet.  I tried warm ups that were 5 questions and like you spent most of the period going over it.  The idea of 1 per day is intriguing to say the least.

    I only have 40 minutes to teach 5 days a week, but I think these warm ups will save time in the long run.

  • George Garza

    June 12, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Last year I was doing super short warm ups.  We gave the students 3-5 problems that were specifically designed to be easy.  The routine was as soon as students came into the class, they’d go to their VNPS and work out the problems, where I would immediately let them know if they were correct or not.  The whole thing typically took 5 minutes.  The idea was to give the students a quick victory to start the class off with the idea that they can be good at math.  After the warm-up they were given a challenge problem.  The main purpose of the challenge problem was to give the students something to do after they finished their warm-ups.  These were harder problems that required more thinking.  I had a tendancy to make these too hard and would often lose about 20 minutes walking the students through these.  In addition I had a hard time getting the kids to even try the challenge problem.  The above routine was established before I had learned as much as I know now about inquiry based classrooms

    Reflecting back, I like warm-ups at the boards being super fast and giving the students something to do as soon as they walk in, but I’m thinking I’ll replace the challenge problem with something like a would you rather, estimation 180 or open middle problem.  Something that is more open and has a low floor.  My periods are blocked so I’ve got about 100 minutes typically, so I’m okay with the total warm up routine taking 15 or so minutes.

  • Michael Rubin

    June 12, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    What I used to do: Warmups were only 7-10 minutes long and generally consisted of review of prior work to prep kids for what I was about to teach them.

    What I plan to do: as I begin teaching through task, my plan is to do unrelated (to the day’s task) warmups (for the reasons Jon stated above).

    I like low-floor warm-ups. I’m planning on using which one doesn’t belong tasks (, would you rather math ( and start doing some number talks (just bought Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphrey’s and Ruth Parker).

    I like Jon’s idea a lot of using warm-ups to cover all major topics in a week. I hadn’t thought of doing that. Currently I’m planning on using my warm-ups to build number sense and review/teach more elementary math concepts since many of my students will have little to no prior math education.

  • Kim Sudac

    June 12, 2019 at 11:29 pm


    My classes are 44 minutes x 5 days per week. I’m amazed at how long some teachers have with their students each day. I wish my classes were longer! At the beginning of last year I had a routine where we would spend about 10 minutes with students working 3 or 4 problems on skills that were things that “should” have been learned/mastered in previous years.  I teach mostly 7th grade, so it was a lot of review of the four operations with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions.  We used the Illustrative Math curriculum for the first time last year, and I was finding that I didn’t have enough time to do a warm up review and hope to get through the lesson for the day.  There are warm up questions/activities that are a part of IM, so I ended up just starting with those each day.

  • Licia Previte

    June 18, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    I also used the warm ups provided in the IM 6-8 program for grade 6.  The spiraling is there as well as the routine variety.  To ensure that I had time to work deeply with other tasks, I set a timer for them, 10-15 minutes depending.  

    • Kyle Pearce

      November 27, 2019 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Licia! Curious, if say the timer goes and you’re not quite done, what does that look like/sound like in your classroom?

  • Sarah Albert

    July 13, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    @Katrienvance I have a double block for math so about 86 minutes. Our reading class is the same then science and social studies are single periods. This is the way our 6-8 grade works. Last year was my first year in 8th grade and I have a full time co-teacher. Our administration expects use to use a station model. The problem I run into is trying to do a warm up takes too much time. For next year I need something that brings the class together at the beginning of the period. I’m trying to find a way to only do the station model for part of the class time. 

  • Katrien Vance

    September 7, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    @sarahalbert, Check out Steve Wyborney’s “20 Days of Number Sense.”  These warm-ups are taking about 10 minutes at most and have been a good way to start class.  Having it already created for me is also amazing.  This was a very easy way for me to step into the world of number sense warm-ups.

    • Jon

      September 18, 2019 at 8:34 am

      Awesome resource there Katrien. Thanks for sharing. I’m adding that in for me too. 

  • Sarah Albert

    November 19, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    @Katrienvance, I’ve been away from this group for awhile but just checked out your suggestion of 20 days of Number Sense. We have exactly 20 class days until Winter Break, so I might give them a try….or try them out when we return in January.  Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Kyle Pearce

      November 19, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      Awesome! I’m super curious to see what your thoughts are after trying them!