Here is the key information the cover sheet and what happens during today's class:
In some of my classes, there is some amazing work and learning happening as students finish up their projects. Of course, I wouldn't prefer to have it this way, but there will always be a student or two who are finally working harder than they have all year. It's exasperating, sure, but I'm also not going to stop work once it finally starts.
So what I'd like to do right now is collect projects, then move on to a few linear equations, which will give students a preview of what we're doing next week while providing me with some info about where my students are at. But with some classes, I might not get to this today, because I'll give them the entire period to put finishing touches on their projects.
In high achieving classes...
If all students submit work and are ready to move on, I will, saying, "Let's jump right in to what's next!" I'll keep it informal and light, because I believe in relaxing and celebrating (if only a little) after accomplishing something, and I want kids to see that. So I simply write a linear equation on the board - I'll start with two simple steps - then take a seat at the back of the room and ask if anyone would like to show us how to solve it.
It's always funny how excited kids get to do this kind of work after submitting a project. It's familiar, they've seen it before, and they're very excited to show off this knowledge, so I can always expect a few volunteers. Someone will jump up, work to solve the equation, and other students will watch and naturally offer feedback.
We'll repeat as many times as we can before the end of class.
With joy, I say that there's no new homework: "take the weekend off," I say, "but if you need extra time to finish up the project, take it."