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

Related: free printable bell ringers for high school, fun bell ringer questions

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.

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.

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!

Final Thoughts: High School Bell Ringers

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

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