It was a hot and blistering day in Georgia when I stepped into my first day practicum/student teaching with one of the best ag teachers EVER Mrs. Lastly. After lots of information and my mind bursting with all the things an ag teacher does on a daily basis, she taught me about START-UPS.
You might call them bell ringers, but basically it is a question for the students to do IMMEDIATELY when they walk in the room. So, each day I was in charge of teaching I made a start up that correlated with what I was teaching and continued to do that through my fifth year of teaching, and let me tell you….it was EXHAUSTING.
I mean raise your hand if you only teach one prep…right…NONE OF US…so one start-up a day really means like 3 to 7 a day, that’s 15 to 35 UNIQUE Start-Ups EACH WEEK (not to mention all the other things we need to lesson plan for). I’m tired just reading those numbers.
If you have ever tried to do this, no matter HOW MUCH planning you do ahead of time there is ALWAYS something that takes your brain away and you forget to change the start up, or just randomly scribble something like “What is Mrs. Nerswick’s favorite color?” just to get something on the board as the kids scramble in the classroom (true story–that was a Start Up MANY times).
I KNEW there had to be a better way to do this. After starting to follow some teachers on Instagram I noticed some core curriculum teachers talking about YEAR LONG start ups. I mean, hold the phone, what? Who has time for that!
Well, I decided I NEEDED this in my life. A year’s worth of start ups to just have and project/print/tell the student to do with NO THINKING/PLANNING involved. So a year and a half ago, I planned out a years worth start-ups for my Basic Ag Class. That is 5 Start Ups a week for 5 weeks a month for 10 months, for you math geniuses, you know that is 250 UNIQUE Start-Ups.
Not going to lie…It took me a WHILE! But, I did it and it has TRANSFORMED my daily routine of wracking my brain trying to figure out a different start up for each prep every day and writing it on the board or typing it in a powerpoint presentation.
So here is what my routine looks like…
Students walk in
We are 1-to-1, so they turn on their devices (but you can do this with a notebook/worksheet, I have a free one you can grab here) They log their START UP answer in THE AET (YES, I know, crazy!) under CLASS TIME. It helps me a TON when I grade, I just pull up their reports and BAM, graded a whole months of Start Ups in about 15 minutes for 5 classes. (It looks a little like this…)
They WRITE the Start Up NUMBER and write out the QUESTION, and ANSWER IT while my CLASS OFFICERS are doing Opening Ceremonies (more on that in another blog post).
After OC, the SECRETARY of my class (if writing on paper/journal) would go around and STAMP the Start Ups.
Then I would start class.
This process takes about 5 minutes of the class. What am I doing during that time… ANYTHING I need to do to get ready for class (get a snack, attendance, prep lab supplies etc.)
I literally LOVE it.
Now you CAN DO THIS TO. Here is the planning sheet I used to plan out my years worth of start ups. If you are like, “Sarah, you are NUTS, there is NO way I have enough time to do that!” Well, I have a solution for you! I have created Start Ups for Basic Agricultural Science, Animal Science and Horticulture! You can purchase a powerpoint version, google slides, or PDF copy. I also have a FREE start up worksheet you can use!
Or you can get the ULTIMATE BUNDLE of all three. Also….DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN USE PO’s to purchase items on Teachers Pay Teachers? Check out more information here!
Don’t believe me, check out these testimonials about resources in my shop.
So tell me….what prep would you like to see Start Ups for next?