Starting a new class every period can sometimes be a stressful and hectic experience.
This lesson covers bell ringer activities for language arts, such as journaling and daily trivia, that will help your students get settled and ready to work.
Bell ringers, if you are unfamiliar, are short activities that can be posted at the beginning of each period to help students get settled in and ready to work while you take roll, collect papers, or check homework. Having creative bell ringers can go a long way towards starting your class off right and getting your students in a focused state of mind. The following list contains several language arts bell ringers that can be adjusted to fit a wide range of grade levels.1.
) JournalingJournaling is a classic bell ringer that can be adjusted for any grade level and topic. Students will quickly get into the habit of journaling if you use it as a bell ringer several days a week (or even once a week on the same day). Journaling can be used to promote writing on a wide variety of topics. You can prompt students to write journal entries about the story your class has been reading or about what students did on their weekend.
You can also have them create fictional stories.2.) Daily EditsAnother writing activity students can do when they come into class is a daily edit. This comes in the form of a pre-written piece of text that has grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors that students have to find and correct.
You may be able to search online to find websites offering such assignments that you can post on a SMART Board for students to look at it. These edits can also be adjusted to contain more errors that fall into the grammar, punctuation, or spelling skill your class is currently working on.3.
) Rainbow WritingThis bell ringer is geared towards younger students, but it can be applied to any language arts class in which students have a spelling list. In rainbow writing, students pick several colors (3-5) of crayons or colored pencils and write their spelling words. However, they must write each word with every color they chose atop of the previous color.
The result is a rainbow word. This is a fun activity, especially for younger students, because it seems like coloring. However, the students won’t realize they are essentially writing their spelling words 3-5 times.4.
) Read a Current EventOne way to get students settled in is to have them read something at the beginning of the period. However, since you will most likely be spending the rest of the period reading and working from a textbook, students might be more interested in reading current events from a newspaper. Have several copies of a local newspaper available for students to peruse, or choose an article and copy it so that each student is reading the same article. After reading, the students then write a brief summary or answer question prompts.
5.) Daily TriviaWhile planning your bell ringers, spend some time searching for interesting trivia around the Web. You can often find trivia that you or your students have never seen before and use that to implement a bell ringer. Specifically, on your board you could write a fact you found and ask students to respond to it.
They could write a variety of different responses, such as why they think the fact is true or what some consequences of the fact are. If they already know the fact, they could write about how they learned it. This can be a way to introduce new, interesting trivia to your students and also see how they can apply new knowledge to their current understanding of the world.6.) IllustrationsThis bell ringer can serve as a break from the various writing activities listed above.
Students can choose a passage from a story or novel they are reading (alone or with the class) and create an accompanying illustration. This illustration can be created along with a short description or reference that indicates the location of the passage within the book it came from.
Teaching from Bell to Bell
There is increasing pressure on teachers to ‘teach from bell to bell.’ However, with all of the paperwork teachers must keep track of for each student, daily classroom business can often get in the way of educators maximizing their teaching time. By using these bell ringers, students in your language arts class can get settled in quickly and have a fun and engaging activity to work on while you are taking care of the everyday routines in the classroom.