Super Simple Warm-Ups for Your Science Class

Teaching Strategies and Tips

You know those CRAZY first 5 minutes of your class when it seems like all of your kids are running around and yelling that they don’t have a pencil.  When kids coming up to your desk telling you they were absent.  And the school secretary is calling you and asking why you haven’t submitted your roll yet.  These super-simple warm-ups are the key.

Picture of free template that is available

How to make the warm-up part of your classroom routine

When I taught high school, I don’t remember there being this much chaos in these first 5 minutes.  I feel like I just put up my warm-up and put my feet up.  Okay, probably not.  But middle school is really a whole new ballgame.

I have had to establish and reteach opening procedures over and over and OVER again.  It doesn’t help that the school that I currently teach at doesn’t have bells between the periods because it is a K-8 school.

There are a few rules that I have posted right next to my desk so that I can just point while I am taking roll.

  • Get out your notebook, planner, folder and pencil and start your warm-up. 
    • Yes you can have a pencil. I buy them just for you!
  • Come see me about your grade during the break.  
    • Your grade is important and you deserve my full attention.
  • If you are finished early, please sit quietly so everyone else can continue to work.  

How can you make warm-ups easy?

Warm-ups are an activity that students can manage all on their own.  Teach your students the procedure and earn back those first 5 minutes of class.  (For other ways to promote student autonomy in your classroom, check out this post.)  Students run the warm-ups when I am out and have a substitute teacher in my room.

On Tuesday-Friday, we do a short 5-minute warm-up.  I keep the warm-ups in a binder located by my document camera.   The same template can be used every week.  (I usually handwrite them, but I included this one as a bonus in my experimental design bundle for middle school.)

warm ups in a binderanswers to warm ups in a binder

The first page is for the questions and the second page is for the answers.  The warm-up for each day goes into a box . I zoom into that box with the document camera so that they can’t see the other days.  They have roughly minutes to answer the questions on their own sheet of paper, which is just a sheet of paper that they fold into 4’s.

Grading Warm-Ups

When the 5 minutes are up, I simply flip to the next page to reveal the answers.  The students self-grade their own.  The following week,  we repeat the process on the backside.  At the end of 2 weeks, they total up their points and pass it in.  I simply enter their score.

It takes me less than 5 minutes to enter scores for my warm-ups for a whole class period.  I tend to enter them while the next class period is doing their warm-up and totaling up their scores for the two weeks.

What about Monday?

On the first Monday, we usually set up the warm-up for the entire two-week warm-up.  I have them write little reminders to themselves if we have a significant event.  For example, if I am going to have a substitute teacher and I know about it, I have them write sub next to the date.

On the second Monday, I usually have them check their grades and fill out self-evaluation that I create on google forms.  I ask them to check their grades online, note the number of missing assignments that they have, set goals and let me know how they are feeling about the class.

Do you want the free template?

Head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and pick it up.  It is one of my forever freebies.  If you like it, please rate it.  It is extremely helpful!

Updated 11/12/2019

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