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5 Ways to Use Bell Ringers in the Middle School and High School Classroom

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Bell Ringer Activities

They are called bell ringers, bell work, entry tickets, anticipatory sets, and so many names for this little but important classroom tool.

They are considered formative assessments because they can give you quick feedback about where your students are on the topic.

Read on for some ideas to implement these classroom management tools into your middle or high school classroom to help with instruction and classroom management!

Bell Ringer Journals have helped us organize our Culinary Arts and Career Exploration classes. For many teachers, the hardest part of teaching high school is the transition times. When students enter the classroom they have energy, they are chatting with friends and if you let it happen, the first 10 minutes of class is wasted correcting students and directing them to focus.

When I first started teaching I learned pretty quickly that I needed a beginning of the class routine. I am not the most routine-oriented person in the world but this time of the class seemed essential.

Why Use Bell Ringers?

High School Culinary Arts and FACS Bell Ringer Journals for teachers.
These routines helped to make teaching less stressful.
  1. They set the tone for the class- from the first day of class you can establish the tone of the beginning of your class by meeting students at the door, directing them to have a seat and get started. Their bell-ringer journal should be at their desk waiting for them.
  2. They make the students feel secure– students feel secure when they know what to expect…even high school and middle school students! By directing them to enter the room and start their journal entry for the day it takes the guesswork out of the beginning of class and they know what to expect. It also allows you to build rapport with your students because as they are working on the bell ringers or sharing the bell ringers, you can get to know them better.

3. ⭐ It gets them thinking about the subject- starting each class with a curriculum-related prompt that is interesting to students and involves them, helps them get into the zone of your class.

4. ⭐ They fill 5 to 10 minutes of your class- I don’t know about you but sometimes I fall short in my lesson in covering the time the kids are with me. By starting with the bell ringer journal you give them time to write and think and if you want to stretch things out, they share with the class and can lead to awesome class discussions.

How to Use Bell Ringer Journals

  • 1-Create questions that you know will get your students thinking about the subject you are teaching. We usually make them ahead of time and try to organize them in a general theme of what we are teaching. For example “Name as many herbs and spices that you can think of.” or a review question such as “Describe an example of Mise En Place in your everyday life.”
  • 2-Organize them by day and put 4-5 on a page, print them weekly or monthly, and put them in binders or folders for your students to pick up on their way into class and work on. Create a digital version of the bell ringer journal and assign them in Google Classroom daily, weekly, or monthly. If you think your students will get ahead of themselves, update with a new question daily.

3- Start Class with Them Every Day– when students enter the room, they have 5-10 minutes to complete the bell ringer. Walk around the room checking to make sure students are working. Remind them that they will be graded.

4- Discuss the Answer- depending on how much time you have that period, discuss the correct answer and the student’s answers. Some bell ringers can ignite a classroom discussion which is totally up to you.

5- Give them a Grade- After teaching for a while I began to realize that students will only take these seriously if they are graded. Periodically, about once a week or so, grade the student’s bell work. You can do a quick skim to make sure students are actually answering the questions. It does not have to be super time-consuming. A little feedback goes a long way. I consider them a classwork grade.

Download your free sample here!

Family and Consumer Science and Culinary Arts Bell Ringer Journal for middle school and high school students.
We use this Culinary Arts Bell Ringer Journal that covers 182 days! Each prompt is colorful and does not require prior knowledge. It also comes in Google version! We also have a Nutrition Bell Ringer Journal.

Why Bell Ringers are Great for Observations

⭐ One of the best parts of getting into the routine of bell ringers and bell ringer journals is that when an administrator observes your class, it runs smoothly! Students will be trained that when they enter your classroom, they get right to work on the journal. It gives you a chance to set things up, walk around the room and build rapport with your students.

Check out our Food Science Bell Ringer Journal to get your Food Science class started right each day!

These strategies will set your class routine and help your students get in the mindset of your content!

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