Bell work activities are a great way to engage your students as soon as the bell rings in the middle school classroom. Often, students don’t always know what to do when the bell rings unless they have implicit instructions from the teacher. These engaging bell work activities and websites will help you establish a bell routine with your students, and they will have the chance to practice their grammar, spelling, and other important ELA skills every day.
How I Implement Bell Work into My Classroom
This year, I have implemented bell work activities for the first time. I have seen bell ringers on Teachers Pay Teachers, and I implemented bell ringers with my 8th graders last year; however, I will admit it was slightly disorganized. This year, I have stuck to a schedule with my 8th graders, which I will share in a bit. First though, I want to tell you about the bell work I have created for my 7th graders and work that they ACTUALLY rave over!
In the last two weeks, I have heard the following comments: “Mrs. Crouch…I love doing the bell work. It is so much fun!” and, “This is my favorite part of the day.” I know…you would not think a 7th grader would say this about “work”, but somehow I have hooked them. I created the bell work with the intentions of keeping my 7th graders busy for the first five minutes, so I can take attendance, collect work, and any other things I have to take care of at the beginning of class.
I don’t know about you, but the first five minutes of class is CRAZY-attendance, collecting work, checking homework, and all of the other entrance items at the beginning of the period. The students NEED a task during the first five minutes to get them situated, and if they don’t have a task, a classroom becomes quickly chaotic. I used to have my students answer writing prompts, but eventually, the prompts became flat and anti-climatic, being it was same routine every day. I eventually abandoned the writing prompts; it just was not working. I was back to square one again.
Each day has designated skills and activities for the students to work on for the first five minutes of class-
*Monday First, the teacher introduces and/or reviews a grammatical term; secondly, it asks the students to write a commonly misspelled word 5 times; introduces a vocabulary word, and asks the students to write a sentence with the vocabulary word included, and write a headline to a short passage.
*Tuesday requires the students to define the grammatical term from Monday, and give examples of the term; answer a question about figurative language; read/answer a riddle, and draw a conclusion on a short passage. There is also a “Fact of the Day”, as well as a small picture to color if students finish early.
*Wednesday asks the students to identify the grammatical device in sentences, and highlight them; a commonly misspelled is introduced again, as well as another vocabulary word; Last, the students have to write a main idea sentence for a short passage.
*Thursday the students are asked to create their own sentences using the grammatical device; identifying or define a figurative or literary device; edit a short passage, and if there is time, students can read the “fact of the day”, the riddle, and/or color if they have extra time.
*Friday the students are asked to draw pictures of the grammatical term in action, practice commonly misspelled words, using a new vocabulary word in context, and complete a fun and engaging journal activity.
Here are some visuals of my bell work, and I would love to offer the readers of this blog post a FREE week of my November Bell Work!
Bell Ringer Freebies & Websites
Click here to receive the free week: FREE BELL WORK
I have had so much success with this format, as each week works on scaffolding a grammatical skill and asks the students to practice language arts skills. Check out more of my great bell ringers HERE.
Here are some great websites and resources for you to create your own bell work:
1. Need Grammar? Check out English Grammar 101
2. Short Passages for Middle School Students-DogOn News
4. Great riddles and jokes for kids-Brain Teasers for Kids
5. What If’s-You may have to filter through these to find appropriate questions for your classroom.
7. More Riddles-203 to be Exact!
I hope this helps you get started in your bell work journey! If you like my FREEBIE, check out the full product right here:
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