Bell-Ringer Activities for English Teachers

Instructor: Derek Hughes
A bell-ringer activity is a good way to get students settled into class before you begin teaching. This lesson will provide some activities you can use in your English classroom.

Bell-Ringers Defined

The beginning of a new class period can be a hectic time for everyone involved. Bell-ringers are short activities students can do as they enter the classroom to get them settled in and ready to work. This lesson will detail some bell-ringers a veteran English teacher uses in her classroom that you can adjust and use in your own class.

English Bell-Ringers

Mrs. Patil teaches 11th grade English at her local high school. She has been teaching high school English for 15 years and has found that several short activities, or bell-ringers, work wonders for helping students get settled in at the beginning of a class period. She uses these activities almost every day and finds that it makes her students more productive throughout the class.

1.) Journal Writing

One of Mrs. Patil's go-to activities is journal writing. Each of her students, at the beginning of the year, is given a copybook that they only use for journal writing. They are told to expect to write a lot in this journal and that Mrs. Patil will be checking it every few weeks to ensure that students are doing their required work.

When she uses journal writing as a bell-ringer, Mrs. Patil usually writes a short prompt up on the board. These can be simple questions such as 'What did you do over the weekend?' or more specific topics related to something the class is working on. Journal writing works great as a bell-ringer because it requires students to work quietly and think about the topic at hand.

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