15 Best Bell Ringers for High School That Focus Students Fast

To gain or maintain students’ retention and engagement upon arrival to class, try a few of these bell ringers for high school.

Bell ringers, also known as bell work, serve to transition students into learning mode at the beginning of class.

This period allows the teacher time to do attendance or complete other administrative duties in preparation for instruction.

Whether you teach high school math, social studies, history, science, or English, you’re sure to find a bell ringer activity on this list to meet the needs of your high schoolers.

These high school bell ringers are engaging, practical, align with learning objectives, and most importantly, get students on task quickly.

Bell Ringers for High School Students

These bell ringer activities fit well as part of a solid high school classroom management system.

1. Origami Challenge

Provide students with a set of instructions and the appropriate materials for completing an origami craft.

They’ll eagerly work to complete the origami task.

This bell ringer activity is not only fun, it promotes critical thinking and strengthens students’ ability to follow a set of directions.

Related Content: Free Printable High School Bell Ringers

2. Days of the Week Writing Prompts

Whichever subject you teach, integrating writing into the lesson is usually good practice.

The use of writing prompts makes integrating writing much easier.

Students have the opportunity to improve their writing skills, reflect, and deepen their knowledge about concepts.

To use writing prompts as bell ringers for high school, consider having themed writing prompt days such as…

  • Motivational Mondaye.g. In what ways can students become more motivated to meet academic goals?
  • Tuesday Talese.g. Tell about a time when you were blamed for something you didn’t do.
  • Wednesday Wisdome.g. What is your interpretation of this quote?
  • Thoughtful Thursdaye.g. What advice would you give to someone having a hard time at school?
  • Fun Fridaye.g. Write five fun facts about yourself that most people don’t know.

If you just want to keep things simple, use these bell ringer writing prompts.

3. Triple 5

For this high school bell ringer idea, provide students with a topic – preferably one from a current or past unit of study. (e.g. a state, president, a planet, rocks)

Students will write 5 truths, 5 untruths, and 5 opinions about the topic.

Try to choose topics that students have studied or have some knowledge about so that you can informally assess areas of strength and weakness.

4. Summarize Current Events

Provide students with a 5Ws graphic organizer, or have them jot down the 5Ws in a notebook. (Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, How?)

Write or project on the board a high-interest, grade-appropriate current events topic.

Students will then complete the 5Ws about the topic.

This activity can be done digitally.

5. Book Reviews

Ask students to use a rating scale of one to five stars (with five stars being the best) to review a book that they have read recently.

They will then justify their ratings in one to two paragraphs.

Related Content: Fun Bell Ringer Questions

6. Figurative Language Exercises and Examples

Your creative students will appreciate this high school bell ringer idea.

Write or project on the board one figurative language term such as metaphor, simile, hyperbole, oxymoron, alliteration, etc.

Students then write one or two examples of that term.


Project on the board a poem or piece of text that contains significant figurative language.

Students then identify all the figurative language they can, jotting down their notes.

7. 10 Minutes to Let Your Mind Wander Activity

This is a simple yet powerful journaling bell ringer for high school students.

Students will jot down…

  • Two things they’ve never done, but would love to try.
  • One thing that might scare others but doesn’t scare them.
  • Three things about this time of year.
  • Two things in their lives or the world around them that are changing.
  • Three little things that mean a lot.
  • One thing they are thinking about but not quite ready to talk about yet.

8. Fun Bell Ringers

If you want to add a bit more excitement to your bell ringer classroom management routine, take a look at these fun bell ringers for high school students.

They take focus and engagement to new levels!

9. Vocabulary Challenge

Present students with new words related to the upcoming reading or writing assignment.

Have them define the words or use them in sentences.

10. Quick Write

Pose a thought-provoking question or provide a short writing prompt related to the literature being studied.

11. Mental Math

Display a quick math problem on the board and ask your high schoolers to solve it mentally within a given time frame.

12. Problem of the Day

Present a challenging math problem related to the current unit and encourage students to solve it collaboratively.

13. Science Fact or Fiction

Share a scientific statement and have students discuss whether it’s a fact or fiction, encouraging critical thinking and class discussion.

14. Observation Exercise

Provide an image or video related to the topic and have students make observations and predictions based on what they see.

15. Historical Quotes

Display quotes from historical figures and have students interpret their meanings or discuss their relevance.

Final Thoughts: High School Bell Ringers

Transition students into an academic mindset using these engaging high school bell ringers.

Not only will your beginning class routines be less stressful, but students’ learning will be maximized.