Daily Checks

Daily checks are short thought questions and exercises for students to complete at the very beginning of your class, as a warm-up. The development of these daily checks was led by Douglas Kiang, computer science teacher at Menlo School, California.

About Daily Checks

by Douglas Kiang

The Daily Checks are organized into folders based on the currently assigned problem set.

We have about 80 class periods over the course of the school year. The numbering corresponds to the number of that particular class day. We do more Daily Checks at the beginning of the year and do fewer toward the end of the year as students have more “programming days” where they come into class and just get right to work on the current problem set.

We use Daily Checks to review content, to facilitate collaboration and conversation, and to scaffold whiteboard exercises in class. We print them out because we have found that they actually work best as a paper-and-pencil activity, with laptops closed. Some learners actually benefit from thinking through the problems as they handwrite the answers.

Daily Checks shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes for students to do at the beginning of class. We will often modify them based on questions that have come up, or mistakes we are seeing frequently, so use these as a starting point and adjust them as you see fit.

We do not collect or grade Daily Checks, although questions on quizzes are often taken directly from previous Daily Checks, so we encourage students to meet in groups and use them for review.

We require that students keep all of their daily checks in a portfolio at the front of the classroom. When we do student conferences we can use these as a starting point for discussion.

Example Usage

  • Start of class
  • 5–10 minutes: Students work individually or collaboratively on Daily Check while we take attendance
  • 5–10 minutes: Students compare answers with a neighbor, discuss answers as a group