17 Great Bell Ringer Activities Teachers Find Useful

The time between when students arrive in class and teachers start the lesson is a critical period because it can make or break how well the class flows.

The solution is to fill that time with daily bell ringer activities.

What Are Bell Ringer Activities?

Bell ringer activities, also known as bell work ideas, are brief assignments that require students to answer some type of question or make a response.

These activities are meant to focus students’ attention fast and transition them into learning mode so that they’re prepared to listen and learn.

They also serve to relax students and create an environment of productivity.

Bell ringer activities give teachers time to wrap up a previous lesson, take attendance, briefly speak with a student who may have a question, collect papers, or complete administrative tasks.

Within this post, you will find examples of activities that make great bell ringers.

Your students can start using them today!

Bell Ringer Activities

1. Use a Likert Scale.

A really good bellringer activity that gauges how well students understood a previous lesson or gauges how they are feeling about the day is to use a Likert Scale.

Project or distribute to each student a Likert Scale bell ringer activity template.

After students rate themselves, they’ll explain their rating.

Now you have helpful feedback.

bell ringer activities

2. Review Vocabulary.

The Tic-Tac-Toe vocabulary activity helps students connect ideas and concepts.

Here’s how it works…

1. Display a bank of words from a current unit of study (any subject).

2. Students choose 9 of the terms to randomly place on the tic-tac-toe graphic organizer.

3. They select a set of three words either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.

4. They’ll analyze how the words are connected and then write one meaningful sentence that contains all three words.

5. Afterwards, they cross out that set of words. They may only use the same word twice if the word is part of another set.

bell ringer activities

Quick tip!

Since the tic-tac-toe graphic organizer has space for five sentences, consider asking students to complete one sentence a day.

At the end of the week, collect the completed organizers and informally assess their understanding of the vocabulary.

3. Utilize Kahoot.

If you’re seeking digital bell ringer activities, try Kahoot.

Kahoot is an online learning platform that uses interactive lessons and games to engage students.

Teachers receive instant feedback about students’ learning and can easily track their learning progress over time.

4. Practice Non-Fiction Text Features.

Nonfiction text features are essential for comprehending nonfiction books.

However, students may have trouble understanding their full purpose and how to use them.

This activity helps with this issue.

Distribute to students a nonfiction text features template sheet. Give them the name of one nonfiction text feature and have them record an example on their worksheet.

Students will share their examples with a partner or the class, and all will discuss the feature’s purpose in aiding reading comprehension.

bell ringer activities

5. Ask a Question of the Day.

A low-prep option, questions of the day for students are not only fun but prompt students to share.

This activity can be done orally or in writing.

6. Use Video Writing Prompts.

Include engaging video content in your collection in order to keep things fresh.

See the full volume of video prompts.

7. Journal.

Journaling is a great way to integrate writing into any subject.

It’s also a good habit for students, allowing them to express their ideas and thoughts, plus synthesize information.

Consider assigning daily journal prompts, monthly prompts, or growth mindset bell ringers.

8. Do Test Prep.

To seamlessly integrate test prep throughout the school year, regularly include standardized test prep questions as one of your bell ringer activities.

You only need to provide one question a day.

Students answer individually. They then have an opportunity to ask questions or get clarification if needed.

9. Answer An Entry Ticket Question or Prompt.

An entry ticket is simply an exit ticket assigned to students at the beginning of class.

Its purpose is to assess what students learned in a previous lesson.

Ask students to summarize yesterday’s lesson or to provide facts about what they learned.

See a collection of exit ticket templates.

10. Complete Daily Oral Language.

Give students an opportunity to practice their spelling and grammar skills by completing Daily Oral Language activities.

11. Interpret a Quote.

A really great critical thinking bell ringer activity is to have students interpret a quote.

Provide students with an interesting quote, and have them interpret it in their reader response notebooks.

bell ringer activities

Ask a few students to share their interpretations with the class, and highlight to students how there are different interpretations of the same quote.

This demonstrates how our prior knowledge and experiences shape how we view things.

Quotes to kickstart this activity…

  • “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated.” – R. Collier
  • “Teachers can open the door, but you must enter it yourself.” – Chinese Proverb
  • “Never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
  • “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

12. Respond to Visual Writing Prompts.

For visual learners, visual writing prompts are great to use as bell ringer activities.

Simply project one on the screen, and students respond in their writing notebooks.

13. Practice Handwriting.

Develop fine motor skills, practice cursive writing, and/or reinforce neat form using handwriting practice sheets.

14. Spark Up a Debate.

If you want to encourage students to interact and share opinions, try a discussion activity as one of your bell ringer activities.

Discussion prompts ignite friendly debates and discussions among students.

Grab a copy of the What Would You Do? Discussion Activity.

15. Read Silently.

Reading silently is also a good bell-ringer idea. You could have students read their own books quietly or you could assign a reading selection.

16. Take a Quick Quiz.

Prepare a short quiz with a few questions related to the previous day’s lesson or a topic that students have recently covered.

This helps reinforce learning and allows you to gauge their understanding of the material.

17. Solve Brain Teasers or Riddles.

Present a fun brain teaser, riddle, or puzzle that requires critical thinking to solve.

These challenges can be related to the lesson’s topic or just serve as a fun warm-up to get students thinking creatively.

Final Thoughts

These assignments make a great addition to your classroom management routine because they keep students focused, engaged, and on-task.

Start using these bell ringer activities today.