April 25, 2018
# 8 Ways to Use Bell Work Beyond the Bell

Grades
1–2,
3–5

When the students arrive in the classroom, it is always a buzz of activity. They have to unpack their homework folders, lunches, and snacks. Normally, this process takes about 5–10 minutes first thing in the morning, but some days it’s harder than others to get them settled in. Bell work is an easy way to get kids in their seats and working independently AND it makes more efficient use of class time.

Bell work can be a few quick math problems written on the whiteboard or photocopied from a book. It could be a journal question or few review questions from the day before. Whatever the case may be, it allows students to walk in and begin work independently while I take attendance and collect homework.

Over the years, I have collected quite a few books that are perfect for bell work. In the past, I have copied a week's worth of work at a time and it's ready to go. But it makes my little teacher heart go pitter-patter when I can use those bell work books in a few different ways.

Here are a few other ways to use your bell work beyond the bell:

I copy a few different math starters or journal prompts and put them in my Sub Tub. That way if the sub needs a few minutes to find everything or read over directions, he or she can enjoy a few peaceful minutes.

I normally don’t send work home over vacation periods because I feel strongly that students should have family time over breaks, but occasionally I have a student that is ill or away for long periods of time. The math starters or other bell work offer a fast, easy way to send a little bit of practice to help keep those skills fresh while the child is gone.

Normally I have homework pages from our Bridges Math program, but occasionally I supplement with pages from my math starters to review skills previously taught. Click on the link to check out the *Daily Math Starters* book in the Teacher Store Online!

Use the bell work as a quick quiz to see if students understand the concepts taught. Right now, my little firsties are learning to solve word problems by drawing a picture, writing an equation, and writing a complete sentence to answer the question. The problems from *Daily Math Starters* have been PERFECT for my kiddos to practice solving word problems independently!

This is a fun game structure that can be used with any topic. Post one question on each desk. There should be the same number of questions as there are students (for example, 25 questions for 25 students), and set the timer for one minute. Students rotate from desk to desk every minute, solving each of the problems. Click on the link to download a Scoot answer sheet.

Put small sheets of paper with two or three problems at a math center and have one student be the teacher. The student playing the teacher reads the problem out loud two times. The rest of the students in the group draw a picture that illustrates the problem, and then write and solve the equation. If it's a word problem, they also write a sentence that answers the question. The "teacher" then presents how she solved the problem. If the answers don't match, they have a discussion on where the mistake might be. Each child gets a turn to be the teacher!

Give students time to solve each problem and have each student quickly come up and present the strategies they used to solve the problem.

Use bell work when you have 10 minutes in between specials and recess, when you get back from a field trip and need to warm up their brains, or as part of a spiral review before you begin a new lesson or topic.

I hope that you found one or two new ways to use your bell work and I would love to hear your ideas on different ways to use bell work beyond the bell!

Happy Teaching,

Nancy

When the students arrive in the classroom, it is always a buzz of activity. They have to unpack their homework folders, lunches, and snacks. Normally, this process takes about 5–10 minutes first thing in the morning, but some days it’s harder than others to get them settled in. Bell work is an easy way to get kids in their seats and working independently AND it makes more efficient use of class time.

Bell work can be a few quick math problems written on the whiteboard or photocopied from a book. It could be a journal question or few review questions from the day before. Whatever the case may be, it allows students to walk in and begin work independently while I take attendance and collect homework.

Over the years, I have collected quite a few books that are perfect for bell work. In the past, I have copied a week's worth of work at a time and it's ready to go. But it makes my little teacher heart go pitter-patter when I can use those bell work books in a few different ways.

Here are a few other ways to use your bell work beyond the bell:

I copy a few different math starters or journal prompts and put them in my Sub Tub. That way if the sub needs a few minutes to find everything or read over directions, he or she can enjoy a few peaceful minutes.

I normally don’t send work home over vacation periods because I feel strongly that students should have family time over breaks, but occasionally I have a student that is ill or away for long periods of time. The math starters or other bell work offer a fast, easy way to send a little bit of practice to help keep those skills fresh while the child is gone.

Normally I have homework pages from our Bridges Math program, but occasionally I supplement with pages from my math starters to review skills previously taught. Click on the link to check out the *Daily Math Starters* book in the Teacher Store Online!

Use the bell work as a quick quiz to see if students understand the concepts taught. Right now, my little firsties are learning to solve word problems by drawing a picture, writing an equation, and writing a complete sentence to answer the question. The problems from *Daily Math Starters* have been PERFECT for my kiddos to practice solving word problems independently!

This is a fun game structure that can be used with any topic. Post one question on each desk. There should be the same number of questions as there are students (for example, 25 questions for 25 students), and set the timer for one minute. Students rotate from desk to desk every minute, solving each of the problems. Click on the link to download a Scoot answer sheet.

Put small sheets of paper with two or three problems at a math center and have one student be the teacher. The student playing the teacher reads the problem out loud two times. The rest of the students in the group draw a picture that illustrates the problem, and then write and solve the equation. If it's a word problem, they also write a sentence that answers the question. The "teacher" then presents how she solved the problem. If the answers don't match, they have a discussion on where the mistake might be. Each child gets a turn to be the teacher!

Give students time to solve each problem and have each student quickly come up and present the strategies they used to solve the problem.

Use bell work when you have 10 minutes in between specials and recess, when you get back from a field trip and need to warm up their brains, or as part of a spiral review before you begin a new lesson or topic.

I hope that you found one or two new ways to use your bell work and I would love to hear your ideas on different ways to use bell work beyond the bell!

Happy Teaching,

Nancy

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