June 27, 2023

Daily Do Now Routine: Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to questions about my daily do now routine, which builds and reinforces a variety of reading and writing ELA skills.

After noticing gaps in students' learning that my curriculum was not addressing, I wanted to create a set of Do Nows (also known as bell work or warm ups) to use in my sixth grade classroom. My hope was that returning to using bell work at the start of class would settle students down in a way that starting class with independent reading wasn't.

I then decided on a theme for each day of the week that would remain consistent from week to week, so my first step was to determine what those daily themes would focus on. Monday would be defining unknown word parts, Tuesday would be sentence structure, Wednesday would be literary terms, Thursday would be writing and grammar concepts, and Friday would be word parts. If you missed my blog post with all of the details about these Do Nows, you'll want to read that first. If you've read that and still have questions, read on.

What grades are these Do Nows designed for?

I designed these for my sixth grade students, but the resource has been used all the way up to tenth grade. It has been most commonly used with seventh and eighth grade for reminders about the foundation of ELA. Teachers using it with older grades often teach special education students, English language learners, or other students who need extra support. I do think it could also be used with fifth grade, but you would have to review the literary terms (Wednesdays) and grammar concepts (Thursdays) to see if they all apply. Unfortunately I've never taught fifth grade.

Is there an answer key?

Yes! In the notes section of each slide there is an answer key or sample response. The notes section may also include other discussion points and the title of the text a sentence or passage comes from. If you aren't seeing the notes section, go to "view" and make sure "show speaker notes" is selected. 

It is also possible to minimize that area. To see more of it, click on the small horizontal line in the center of the bottom of the slide and drag that line up until the notes section is showing.

Is it editable?

Yes! All of the activities can be edited to better fit the needs of your classroom.

How long do these activities take? 

I give students five minutes to complete their Do Now. Some of the activities might take less time, but during that first five minutes of class my students are also preparing themselves for the rest of class: getting needed materials out, sharpening pencils, etc. Review of the Do Now can take 2-4 minutes depending on how many students I call on to share responses and how many students struggled with the activity.

Can I change the timers? My students need more or less time for certain activities. 

Yes! The timers are actually YouTube videos. If you would like to add a video with a different timer on any of the slides, you can learn more about inserting videos here.

How do these activities fit into the rest of your class period?

I have a ninety minute period daily. We start class with the Do Now and then read independently for 10 minutes. The rest of the class time can vary, often I do some whole group instruction before moving on to rotations. The last few minutes of class is dedicated to an exit ticket before packing up. 

Can I change the headers?

Yes! If your school says "learning target" instead of "objective" or you want to change "reminders" to "what you need," it is easy to make that change.  To change the headers or anything else about the layout of the Slides, go to “Slide” and select “Edit Theme.” You can learn more about editing Slide Themes here.

What if I’m on a block schedule or don’t see my students every day?

If you don’t see your students every day, one option would be to pick the activity “themes” that would be most beneficial for your students. For example, if you only see your class three times a week, you might decide to use Monday’s vocabulary activities, Tuesday’s sentence structure activities, and Friday’s word part activities. 

Another option would be to work through all of the activities in order and not worry about completing a certain “theme” on a certain day. For example, if your school is on a six day rotation schedule Monday’s vocabulary activities could be done on any day of the week, not just on Mondays. 

Because the slides are 100% editable, you can easily change the days of the week on the Slides to match your schedule.

Where do students record their responses to the Do Nows?

Students record their responses on a printed handout that I distribute to students at the start of each week. On the front side of the handout, there are boxes for students' Monday through Friday Do Nows and on the back side are boxes for students' Monday through Friday Exit Tickets. You can find that response sheet for free here.

Alternatively, students could respond in notebooks or you could also post them on your learning management system and have students respond digitally. Make sure you remove the answers in the notes if you do that!

How do you grade students’ Do Nows?

Ideally I don’t grade them; they just get collected at the end of the week and recycled. However, if students are not settling down and getting their Do Nows done within the allotted time, grading them can certainly be a motivation for students to change that behavior. 

Another motivator can be stamping students’ completed Do Nows as they finish them. Once the timer is up, I stop stamping. Students get full credit with a stamp and half credit with no stamp as long as it is still complete.

What if I’m not ready to commit to the full 42 weeks?

You can download this free two week sample to check out the daily themes and types of activities (note that Thursday and Friday’s activities will be fairly basic as they build in complexity as the year progresses.

I also have several posts on my Instagram about my Do Nows (all saved in this story highlight) so you can see some different prompts throughout the year. Early posts will look a little different as I cleaned up the formatting of the Do Nows at the end of the school year.

If you are ready to commit, you can find the full 42 week resource here.

Find answers to questions about my daily do now routine, which builds and reinforces a variety of reading and writing ELA skills.

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