A ‘Do Now’ is a common name for an activator teachers use to begin a lesson (it is also sometimes called a warm-up or bell work). It is often part of the Framing the Learning portion of a lesson. A ‘Do Now’ is a quick, independent or collaborative activity that typically involves no (or minimal) guidance from the teacher. A ‘Do Now’ can be used to activate students learning for the lesson, surface prior knowledge, and familiarize students with lesson vocabulary. A ‘Do Now’ works best if it is an established classroom routine as it signals to students that it is time to learn. Well written and well practiced ‘Do Nows’ result in less wasted time and more student engagement. Typically a ‘Do Now’ should take less than 10 minutes to complete and assess.
Tips & Tricks
- Use the EQ: The essential question works great as a ‘Do Now.’ Students may write their answer to the EQ independently, discuss it with a partner, or a combination of both.
- Administrative Duties: As students begin their ‘Do Now’ quickly complete your administrative duties, take attendance, collect and give feedback on homework etc. Don’t forget if it’s important enough to assign, it’s important enough to assess; upon completion of your duties, circulate, monitor and provide support and feedback to students on their ‘Do Now.’
- Multiple Modes: Although typically ‘Do Nows’ are written, teachers may structure them to fit students’ needs. Creating a poem, word problem, song, or picture or dialoging with a partner or team are all great ways to activate and engage students at the beginning of the lesson.
- Track Learning: Have students respond to a ‘Do Now’ question or scenario at the beginning of the lesson on a colored Post-It Note, then have students post their writing on an anchor chart. At the close of the lesson, have students respond to the same question on a different color Post-It as the lesson’s anchor. Have students place that Post-It next to their first Post-It so that they may observe how their thinking has evolved.
- Assessment: Often teachers use ‘Do Nows’ as quick pre-assessment tools. As students complete the ‘Do Nows’ teachers can take informal data on performance in order to modify the upcoming instruction or could use the completed ‘Do Nows’ to make leveled flexible groups.
Tools & Templates