"So what do you think?" Tips for motivating high school students.

So what do you think? 

I'm betting a lot on these 5 words this year. I have definitely noticed that the first few minutes of class absolutely dictate the way the next hour or so goes. An old principal of mine really stressed the importance of strong warm ups, and it took me a long time to finally get to where my students expect them, know where they're found in the room (always in the same wire basket, which causes a panic if it's ever out of place), and what to do with them. 

This same principal also once said that "A good curriculum is the best classroom management" and I totally agree. When the curriculum is good, the students are motivated, and when students are motivated, everyone is happy (especially me).

In my Algebra 2 class, I have been using warm-up templates that have been working really, really well. But in my Consumer Math I wanted to do something different. My students are all seniors so it's important that they start thinking a little bigger. 

Over the past year or so, I've been collecting memes, quotes, silly Math errors with the idea of turning them into daily motivational warm ups. The file keeps growing because people just keep on posting the darndest stuff online! 

Motivating students with learning disabilities - Scaffolded Math and Science

Sneaky, sneaky, print
Hopefully while other teachers are setting up their classrooms I can sneak down to the fast copier (we all know where that one is) and print this pretty big Powerpoint in handout mode. 

Since I can't seem to figure out how to print so that the margins aren't ginormous in this mode, I'll probably print 2 slides to a page so that the kids can actually read what's printed in each picture. 

In my Consumer Math class, where I plan to use these warm ups, I'll be going into year 2 of interactive notebooks, so we'll be gluing them in. I can't wait. I think they're really going to work.

Nice job
many of my students would rather hang their good work up in our classroom than bring it home. Last year, I created a space for student work named "The Fridge". Here's some more info about our Fridge and what's on it.  

The Fridge bulletin board for student papers

You can download the "What do you think?" prompts here in my dropbox.

More posts:

Math Word Wall Ideas

Math Classroom Decoration Ideas

Scaffolded Math and Science blog


  1. I use an honor board, where students sign their name if they get a perfect test score. They can opt to just put tallies after their name after the first one.

    1. I love this idea. Thank you so much for sharing, Jean. I am sure the kids love seeing their names on the board. I can imagine it being a real motivator on the harder days to see their names up there.

    2. These are GREAT!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH, I'll be using these in my classroom for sure

    3. I hope you have a great year!

  2. I just found this and LOVE this idea! Do you have a minimum of length for a response? Thank you!

    1. I didn't require a minimum length, but most of my students struggled with language as well as math, so I didn't want to create a barrier. However because of this, I would get a lot of 3-worders. I probably could have found a happy medium.

  3. This is BRILLIANT!!!! I've been looking for something like this to inspire my kids! You always seem to have just the right inspiration when I need it. Thank you!

    1. I appreciate your kind words so much! Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful year!