TECHNIQUE 20: Do Now
Chapter 5, consisting of 6 techniques, revolves around ‘Lesson Structure‘. (That’s right, I skipped Chapter 4, more later on that). Teach Like a Champion 2.0¹ is based on hundreds of hours of teacher observation, and one of the tell tale signs of a “champion” teacher is evidence of a “… consistent progression of activities,” (p.161). The beginning of that progression starts with the technique, Do Now; upon entering the classroom the students are consistently greeted with a short warm-up activity (worksheet, task on board, projected activity, etc.), that they can complete without instruction from the teacher. I’m sure I’m repeating myself, but this is a strategy I’ve always wanted to add to my teaching itinerary. Do Now, in effect, “… let’s the learning start before you start teaching.”¹. Corny quote, yes. However, Marvelous idea; and I’ve seen it in action in several of the middle school classrooms I’ve substituted in this Winter. Even I was engaged, as the visiting adult in the room; a question, a math problem, a grammar challenge, journal prompt or an image; straight away (as the teacher is getting ready for the next group of students) everyone’s mind is already processing information and getting ready to learn. I like this opportunity for students to start learning, autonomously, without instruction from the teacher. Do Now task might even be fun, (imagine that) or challenging, even thematically repetitive.
The Do Now should, according to Doug Lemov, adhere to the following four criteria in order to be efficient and effective:
- The Do Now should be in the same place every day. In order to develop a Do Now habit, for everyone, “wherever you put it, keep it consistent”.
- Students should be able to complete the Do Now task without any assistance or direction from the teacher. Establish a habit of “self-managed” productive work without directives from the instructor.
- The Do Now should take no more than 3-5 minutes AND should require putting pencil to paper. Written product=student accountability.
- The Do Now should either preview the day’s upcoming lesson or review a recent lesson.
The only observed downside to using Do Now is the time pitfall. One I can imagine myself falling into, without the aid of a timer/stop watch. “…a teacher’s losing track of time while reviewing answers. Fifteen minutes later, the Do Now has replaced the the lesson that was originally planned.”, (p.162)¹. A simple, yet interesting technique, to me; one that I have never implemented into a daily classroom plan. It does, however, lend itself very well to foreign language instruction. There are a 1001 books available that offer, “One Word a Day”, “365 Jokes”, “A Math Problem a Day Keeps ? Away”, even daily inspirational books. One never has to reinvent the wheel, certainly not in the classroom. Ending this technique on a creative note, here’s one teacher’s approach to Do Now: (see rainbow list, left).
More interesting resources for Do Now:
KQED Education: Do Now activities using digital/social media tools.: http://ww2.kqed.org/education/about-do-now/
Edutopia ‘Engaged Teaching: Do Now Activities for your Lessons‘ http://www.edutopia.org/blog/engaged-teaching-do-now-activities-sel-lessons-maurice-elias
Teachnology: Math Do Now Worksheets: http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/math/donow/grade7/