Are you familiar with bell ringers?
It’s okay to say no. When I first started teaching I had no idea.
As a newbie teacher, I really thought we would have seamless transitions from one subject to the next. Not only that, but I also thought every moment of our day would be filled with engaging, content-rich learning.
Imagine my surprise when I was slapped in the face by reality.
What Are Your Students Doing When They Enter the Room?
Do your students enter the room peacefully and get right to work on the assigned task? If so, tell me all your secrets, please!
Many teachers have a hard time establishing a routine for switching subjects or classes. It’s not just you and me. The very nature of switching subjects or moving rooms is tumultuous. Nailing down smooth transitions is a challenge faced by everyone, but bell ringers can help!
What If Students Were Instantly Engaged by Bell Ringers?
What is a bell ringer you ask? They go by many names including transition activity, spiral review, warm-up, warmer activity, and more. Despite the variety of names, the goal is always the same. A bell ringer is a task or assignment students complete when they first enter the room or you are transitioning from one subject to another. They are quick and generally a form of review or extension of the topic you are currently teaching.
The process of using a bell ringer allows students to get in the right mindset for the subject matter at hand and provides the teacher with a moment to handle any administrative tasks that need to occur while students are engaged.
Why Bell Ringers Are Popular
Bell ringers are incredibly popular in classrooms because of their wide array of benefits.
They provide students with the opportunity to transition into the subject matter in a slow and steady way that they can depend on. By building warm-up activities into your routine students know what to expect and that brings comfort and safety. When appropriate, students can work together on these tasks allowing them to get a little chat in before diving into the day’s work.
Teachers benefit from bell ringers because they are a tool used to collect data on students that don’t require a lot of time or prep. In fact, these tasks should be quick. Also, by taking the time to review the activity as a class, you provide students with an opportunity to take a risk on something they are learning without the fear of failure.
Ready to Get Started?
Bell ringers can be just about anything you want them to be, but I have found the most success with maintaining the same predictable format all year while switching out the content. This way, students are able to become familiar with the expectations and feel comfortable with the task.
Ready to start a bell ringer routine in your classroom? Check out the links below for yearlong spiral activities.