Feb 26, 2019

Connect Your Bell Ringer Activity to Literacy

Students and teacher in the classroom

Teachers often look for activities for students to do as they enter the classroom right when the bell rings. A favorite bell ringer activity of mine is “My Favorite No.” This video from the Teaching Channel shows this strategy in an 8th grade math class, and there are a number of ways this can be modified for the literacy classroom, depending on the focus of the day.

Instead of presenting the students with a math problem:

  • In the middle of a novel unit? Compose 2-3 quick reading check questions to revisit key points of the reading and discussion from the previous day and launch the students into the day’s work.
  • Starting a new story or poem? Compose 2-3 quick background knowledge check questions to gauge student knowledge of a time period, place, vocabulary words, or concept.
  • Working on writing or grammar? Ask students to compose (or pick out of their writing in process) a type of sentence, or a sentence with certain elements in it to share.
  • Engaging in Tier 2 vocabulary words? Ask students to illustrate a vocabulary word that they’ve been working with. Or give an example of a literary device.
The teacher in the video also uses notecards in her practice. You can use note cards, Post-it notes, clickers, Google survey, poll everywhere, or other ways to gather quick, real time data, warm up your students, and launch into the lesson of the day.

Laura Johnson is a literacy consultant for Grant Wood AEA.