Seamless Starts (Structures & Strategies for supporting student success and teacher sanity part 11)

Continuing the ongoing series of practices and strategies that help classes run smoothly, keep me on track, and reduce stress for everyone, this strategy is an updated version of the Dashboard Slide + warmup sheet combo.  Find out more here

In this case, I’ve updated our warmup sheet to reflect the change in my teaching assignment to all intermediate classes (Spanish 4 & AP). Some of our strategies for novice level classes–such as Puedos–are not as relevant to these classes, so they were pruned.  However, I also wanted a smooth, painless way of working in some multiple choice activities that are similar to those on the AP exam.  Enter the marvel that is Zipgrade!

Zipgrade is free for its basic version–and inexpensive for its paid edition.  It allows teachers to use their phones as a scantron-style scanner and gives instant results.  While I rarely use multiple choice questioning in my novice classes, it plays a small but important role in pre-AP and AP classes. Adding the Zipgrade answer sheet to my warmup streamlines this process significantly.  I don’t need separate copies for the answer sheet–it’s on their warmup document.  I can make the questions about anything I want and project them as part of the class warmup OR use them as an exit ticket.  The document is dated and has evidence of their progress throughout the five days it covers.  There are multiple versions of the answer form, so I have a version of my warmup sheet that has spots for 20 questions and another for 50.  Here’s another little trick: we can use the same answer sheet over the course multiple days by numbering the questions accordingly (day 1 might be 1-5, but day 2 might be 6-8, etc.)

The beauty in this system for me is its simplicity and its flexibility. Students know that class will begin with our dashboard-directed activity that will be recorded on our warmup sheets. Having the sheets already setup takes stress and prep decisions off my plate and allows us to focus on the important things: students and loving language.

Get your own copies of the sheets here–they’re free!.

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