3 Ways ASSISTments can Help You Maximize Class Time

February 11, 2020

Teachers will tell you that class pacing is quite the balancing act! In the US, classes often last about 45 minutes, leaving teachers with important decisions about how best to utilize their class time. Online tools like ASSISTments can be pivotal in helping teachers make the most of teaching and learning during class and at home. 

We know that no two teachers teach the same. Teachers need flexibility. At ASSISTments, we believe in supporting teachers' existing teaching styles and routines with data to help better inform instruction and use of class time. You may find that an in-depth homework review is helpful on certain days, or you might decide to stick with just a quick classroom warm-up.

ASSISTments teacher users across the country have noticed a difference. Middle school math teacher Kim Kelly let us know that ASSISTments allows her to identify “common misconceptions [and] where the errors are” with her students. Now, she says, she is able to “drive every step of the lesson in a meaningful way.” The ASSISTments tool is designed to help teachers like Kim take full advantage of their time. Features like math warm ups, independent practice and exit tickets can help teachers and students make the most of their time, both in and out of the classroom.

Wondering how ASSISTments can support time management in your classroom? Try these three tips… whether your class time is 45, 60 or 90 minutes long!

  1. Make the first 5 minutes count

Many teachers use the beginning of class to get students primed for learning. This can take the form of a “warm-up” activity, or any everyday routine that can help ignite students’ readiness to learn. ASSISTments is more than simply a homework tool. It can be used to help teachers efficiently get their students ready for math instruction.

Renah Razzaq, the head of the math and computer science department at her high school in Massachusetts, uses ASSISTments to make the first 5 minutes of her class really count. Her warm-ups, given through the ASSISTments app, allow students to quickly get into the math mindset so they are ready for the day’s classroom instruction. 

Ms. Razzaq starts the class with a warm-up activity that she calls “Do Nows.” Students complete their Do Nows through ASSISTments on either computers, mobile devices and tablets. Ms. Razzaq uses this practice to reinforce prerequisite material before getting into the day’s lesson.

After the students complete their Do Now problems, Ms. Razzaq anonymizes the “Assignment Report” (a feature within the app)  and uses it to guide a brief review session. The report allows the class to engage in a discussion about the material and how students can avoid common mistakes.

She has found that students are more likely to participate in class when they can see that they may have the same questions as their peers.
  1. The Assignment Report to transform homework review. 

How can homework review sessions be targeted to make the most of your class time? Online tools can be used to streamline the review process, and get back some of those precious minutes! ASSISTments can simplify homework review by providing critical information about where your students hit the mark and where they need extra support. 

The ASSISTments Assignment Report is easy to use and can be accessed anytime after an assignment is given. Through the report, you can view how the class performed as a whole or check in on an individual student’s performance. Teachers are able to hide students names on the Assignment Report, allowing them to show the report and start a conversation with the class about their learning.

Knowing how much time students spend on certain problems, or which common wrong answers appeared on the report can illuminate the common misconceptions to tackle in class. These insights can allow teachers to truly target instruction to the needs of the class.

Instead of going over every homework problem, teachers can focus on the content that students need to review.

Looking to incorporate warm-ups into your classroom? Check out ASSISTments’ Content organized by the common core state standards. We have practice problems from popular Open Educational Resources including Illustrative Mathematics, Open Up and Engage NY/Eureka Math.

  1. Utilize your exit ticket.

How can teachers feel assured that students are grasping the content of the day’s lesson? Exit tickets can be an excellent tool for a quick temperature check at the end of class. An exit ticket is a small assignment a student must complete at the end of a class session before moving on to their next period. 

Exit tickets can provide critical information to both students and teachers. This practice allows students a final opportunity to summarize and practice the material they learned that day.

Students leave the class knowing which material they comprehended and which material needs more work. “I love that ASSISTments helps students set goals and track their own data,” says Ms. Razzaq.

Teachers, too, can gain understanding from students’ exit tickets. A teacher can use exit tickets to assess both the progress of the class and assess if their lesson hit home for the class. If students continuously are struggling with the same concept, the teacher may have an opportunity to explain the material in a new way that will resonate with their student.

Teachers can use data from exit tickets to plan the next day’s lesson as effectively as possible.

Bonus tip: Exit tickets are especially helpful for teachers whose students may not have computers at home or who prefer to use ASSISTments for classwork. Other teachers may choose to assign "exit ticket" questions as homework instead, use the time previously reserved for exit tickets to extend class discussion, and the Assignment Report for all the data they need to inform the next day's instruction. The ASSISTments app has EngageNY/Eureka Math exit tickets, and Illustrative Math and Open Up Resources cool-down problem sets loaded and ready for teachers to use in class or at home.

While it can be challenging to manage time in class sessions of any length, there are tools at your disposal to accomplish the task. Because of its flexible design, ASSISTments can support you in your teaching practice— whether that be through warm-ups, homework review or whatever is working in your classroom! ASSISTments can help you stay up to date on your students’ progress so you can target class sessions to enhance their learning. 

Interested in learning more? Check out our wide array of content for math classrooms.

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