I teach 7th grade Language Arts... but might be able to help! I hate the name Bell
Ringer, so someone in my school calls them a Sizzler,and I stole the name from
them. At least that sounds a little more interesting!
My students complete a Sizzler every morning in their notebook. My kids keep a
5 subject interactive notebook and we have one section just for warm-ups.
I collect the Sizzlers when ever I get a chance or feel like I need to. I always give
my students 24 hour notice incase they would like to fix up their notebooks or
finish something from when they were absent. I wonder around though each day
to make sure the kids are getting something down and not procrastanating!
The topics depend on what I need to go over. Sometimes a Sizzler could be to
take out some supplies, turn something in, complete a worksheet, write in a
journal, set up a vocab page, or whatever! I leave it open so I can do what I need
to! The kids are so use to the routine of doing them- it doesn't matter what it is-
they get it done!
You can even use Take 5 for 1. DEAR --15 minutes, 2. written response, and 3.
Find three interesting new words---that's 5 activities. That gives you more time to
do what you need before beginning the first lesson.
I found a set of books from Glencoe that include short
readings. I am using one that has 75 science readings of
increasing difficulty. Each day students walk in and grab a
reading, read, and answer the six questions (main idea,
subject matter, supporting details, conclusion, clarifying
devices, and vocabulary in context). I provide the answers,
students self-correct and graph their results. I collect it
once a week to check their progress (and see if an
individual is having problems with a particular type of
question). It gives me about 10 minutes at the beginning of
class to get the general stuff done, provides supported
informational reading (the term from the state test), and
leads to an easy "pull together" to bring everyone together.
We use a "daily focus", which is a term or question related to what we're studying
today. The one for my classroom today is a t-chart that compares fantasy &
realistic fiction based on time, place, characters, and plot.
MacDonald publishing has small spiral books--almost index-card sized--that have
prompts for every day. Some are creative, but there are lots of different ones.
You could also
*put a quote on the board and have kids respond to it
*have a Greek/Latin affix on board with meaning and have kids copy into
notebook and think of as many words as they can that contain that prefix
*have a short poem on the overhead and have kids respond to it in different ways
(writing, drawing, writing a similar poem)
A list of 203 various prompts
Great ideas for how to get kids writing. They have an interactive plot generator
that is great!
Great ideas, Katrinkit! I like having a variety of topics they can choose from...
I also give a "Monday Mind Bender" to my kids on Mon. in addition to the regular
bell ringer. I usually show them a mystery object and have them guess what it
might be (you can find weird pictures of hard to identify objects on the web, in
magazines, etc.) or I show them a funny picture and have them come up with an
appropriate caption. Sometimes I also use those word puzzles that show a
common phrase but in picture form (like BIG MOUTH will be drawn as the word
mouth written in large letters...).
Anyway, they enjoy a change of pace from the language arts content review I do
each morning and since it's still critical and imaginiative thinking, I don't mind
offering the variety.
Some are pictures but here is another website for challenge problems...
I just remembered another bell ringer that my neighbor down the hall uses with
her gifted kids. She puts up analogies on the overhead and the kids copy them
down and figure them out. Once a week, she gives a short quiz over them. If they
kept up with them daily, they ace the little quizzes. She spends a lot of time going
over the different relationships represented by the analogies and once they get
the hang of them, she has them make up their own that relate to novels they are
reading or grammar stuff. It's pretty cool and I may be stealing it later this year!
Oh my goodness, I was just going to write about analogies. I also love jumbles,
which are quick. My sister gives her high schoolers cryptoquotes (anagrams), but
they take too long.
How many synonyms or antonyms can you find for a word?
Give several clues to a infrequently used word and have them find it (without
dictionary) - you could use crossword puzzle clues for this.
I love all these ideas, so much more creative than what I've been doing!
I also heard a suggestion a while back on here to present an idiom and have
students write what they think it means, then discuss what the real meaning is.
Sounded like a kinda fun way for them to expand their (informal) vocabulary.
We use the bellringers from Great Source called MUG Shots. We did alter them
slightly because of time limits. That text gives a blank template for the students
to copy the sentence with mistakes from the board and then make corrections
and then rewrite it correctly.
Actually my system is set up every September. I explain that when they
come in they are to look at the side board and immediately start
whatever assignment I have written. (These are always related to the
lesson varying from practicing orally with a partner some exercise,
writing a short exercise, reading, practicing an original dialogue with
their partner, etc.)
The first is a verb schema. A French teacher
in Wakefield, Ma. shared this idea with me. This is for upper levels. It
is a schematic of the verb tenses; I write a verb and a pronoun on the
board (e.g. chercher, tu forme) and they have 7 or 8 minutes to put the
verb into every tense (except plus-que-parfait et l'imparfait du
subjonctif); We make models for -er, -ir, and -re verbs when we first
Another activity is my "phrase du jour" which is posted in the corner of
the black board every day. This can be anything which they wouldn't
typically learn in the textbook, but which is useful anyway. (e.g. terms
of endearment, slang expressions, how to bless someone when he sneezes,
etc.) My students know that they must be in their seats copying the
phrase when the bell rings. Then we talk about it after. This is mostly
for my lower level classes because I tend to use basically the same
phrases each year.
Give the students the topic and have them submit bellringer questions. The
students whose questions get choosen for use on different class days get bonus
points on some activity.
"I use Bell Work every day. My students are from a low socioeconomic
background and have little exposure to the world outside of the wind blown plains
of Northern Colorado so I have gone online to find short biographies of famous
scientists and have printed them out and put them into a notebook. We read the
biography on the first day for Bell Work, the second day the kids write a short
summary, the third day they exchange the summaries and edit each others work,
and the fourth day they re-write their summaries before they turn them in. This
way I can incorporate reading and writing skill work into the science. It took
about four rounds of this routine to get them into the swing of things. I have seen
an increase in their writing skills in all areas in my class as a result of doing this."
2. Find several sources that have short current event articles and even cartoons
like Gary Larsen's Farside. Choose an article that has a relationship to the
current unit you are studying. Xerox a class set of the article or cartoon for the
day (or use the overhead). Have student explain how the article ties in with what
you are studying. You could also have students find the articles, cartoons, etc
that go with the unit you are teaching