I write the prompt on the board and answer brief questions about it. Then I hand them all an index card and insist they write for a few minutes. The trick is keeping them all writing for the whole time!
After the timer beeps, they can "mail" me the postcard in a little mailbox I got in the Target Dollar Spot around Valentine's Day last year. Of course every single one of them has to put the flag up!
The best source of math questions that I've found is from the book Good Questions for Math Teaching. The title pretty much says it all. :)
I don't know that it's worth the original $24.95, but Amazon has it for about $13 and I definitely get $13 worth out of it! I like that the questions are open-ended. I like that they challenge my high kids, but are accessible for my strugglers. But most of all, I like that I don't have to think of my own prompts!
Last week I had the kids answer ___ + ___ + ___ = 13 and asked them to find as many numbers as they could that fit the number sentence.
On a graph about pets owned by children in our class, I counted more dogs than cats. What might the graph look like?
It was a good assessment for me to see which students recognized the different ways to decompose 13, which students could use patterns to build their answers, and which students still had no clue what was going on.
We're linked up at Math Monday.