What bell ringers for high school language arts will help your class?
I begin each of my high school classes with “bell ringers.” These work well for secondary students; they know what to expect and class begins orderly. I’ve used several types of bell ringers for high school English over the years, and I change them from class to class. Some classes respond better to different class openers.
If you teach high school English, you might wonder if bell ringer activities for high school English are a waste of time. They are not. No matter what bell ringers for high school English you use, you will see benefits:
With options, students can practice what they need as they enter class. Everyone is naturally split as they being work alone. For instance, allow students to choose their writing topic for the day. Take choice to another level by asking students to choose their focus: strong verbs, correct punctuation, or topic sentences.
As students work, you can circulate and help. Students don’t turn in work and receive feedback the following day; you’ll be able to help them immediately. To be honest, bell ringers for high school English start the class period with a “can-do” atmosphere.
As you setting into routines with your high school language arts class, you’ll find older students able to help each other. Peer discussion is a proven benefit of brain-based learning, and collaboration will help your classroom community. You can also begin class quietly and that after five minutes (or so), ask students to “turn and talk” to their neighbor.
Students are less fearful and are more likely to ask questions as they settle into the habit of bell ringers. Since students work and I circulate, they won’t feel ashamed asking a question to me in front of the entire class. Students become accustomed to this quiet time, and I can individually help students.
If you use a variety of belling ringers to start your ELA class, you can provide natural transitions into the day’s work. For instance, targeted practice with grammar errors can lead into revising and editing activities for the day.
Bell ringers for high school English will help with classroom management, provide data, and start class in an orderly manner.
Now, how should you start your high school language arts class? Do you need to use grammar bell ringers for high school? I have uses a variety, and in my experience, consistency is the key, not the exact type.
Here are the most effective bell ringers (grammar bell ringers for high school and non-grammar ones) that I’ve used with secondary students.
I’ve written before about how using quotes allows me to set the tone of my classroom and encourage discussions. When I use quotes as bell ringers, I model analytical thinking for my students. Showing a quote at the start of class gives students to “wake up” and begin thinking. I can show them how I walk through an analysis and connect the quote to a bigger picture.
Plus, quotes as bell ringers for high school English allow me to build relationships with students. Out of multiple quotes, students will find one they relate to.
(Maybe only on Fridays?) I’ve recently started showing a few TED talks at the start of class. Because these take more time than a traditional bell ringer, I’ve only done it as a “surprise.” Students enjoy watching entertaining performances, but showing a TED talk at the start of every class won’t work. This upcoming semester, I’m considering showing one every Friday.
Excerpts of videos would also work for high school language arts classes, especially during a speech unit.
Poetry is not my favorite subject to teach. I have used various poems as bell ringers to combat that. I read a poem at the start of class, and we applied poetical devices as we read. Plus, I kept a running tally of terms we covered and reviewed them at the end of the semester. This worked well because while I gathered poems, I encouraged students to bring them in as well. This helped build relationships because students were contributing to the curriculum.
Most often, I begin classes with grammar lessons. Using task cards with grammar errors, I can gauge where our grammar lessons need to go. For instance, if I provide students with several writing errors and the majority of students are struggling with subject – verb agreement, I know that I need to review subjects and verbs, probably prepositional phrases (stuck between the subjects and verbs), and then agreement rules.
Additionally, when I teach juniors, they have a solid foundation of grammar. They are ready to analyze the problems in writing while they prepare for college exams.
Plus? With task cards, I can have students move. When we cover basic writing errors, I have students move dependent upon the task card they studied. For instance, I’ll have students with misplaced modifiers get into one section of the room, pronoun-antecedent problems get in another section, etc. Then we can discuss the commonalities between the errors, hopefully showing patterns. (Bonus: in the first ten minutes of class students have moved, making them more awake.)
If my grammar bell ringers for high school are too difficult, I’ll use basic task cards that will also provide me data.
Great bell ringers for high school language arts include “fun” and short activities. Years ago, I had a set of puns that worked like a puzzle. Students had to think of the pun based on pictures. For example, one pun had a man in a business suit holding glue. He held a briefcase and very much looked like a salesman. After a bit of discussion, students figured he was selling glue—and he stuck to his word. (Insert eye rolling.) These were fun and engaging, and began class quickly.
When deciding what bell ringers for high school language arts, consider the time available and the audience you have. I begin each class with a bell ringer, which allows me time to take attendance and talk to students individually. Students know what to expect and class begins in a calm, organized way. Bell ringers truly work for high school students.
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Are you looking for middle school language arts bell ringers? That post covers student choice and engagement in middle school.