Using Bell Ringers to Spark Discussion

Greetings from The SuperHERO Teacher! As teachers, we are all familiar with bell work of some kind (bell ringers, journal prompts, warm-ups, entrance tickets, etc.), but how can we turn those topics of interest into intellectual classroom discussions? I’m here to help!  Starting a daily routine using entrance and exit tickets, posting discussion guidelines, and determining a school-year worth of topics are some of the many ways to get started.

Not only will this step help with discussion, it will also be a classroom management MIRACLE.  If your students are prepared to discuss their answers on daily bell work from the beginning of the school year, they will be more apt to participate throughout the course.  I would strongly suggest implementing daily warm-ups the first or second week of the school year or semester.  By doing so, you can set guidelines and expectations immediately, allowing students to gain confidence in live classroom discussions.  In addition to boosting confidence, routine discussion will also create a lively classroom environment where students feel comfortable speaking about their opinions.  

So, how do you develop routine in your classroom?  Try using entrance and exit tickets that your students can use to draft their discussion points prior to speaking about them in front of the class.  I’ve created a FREE editable entrance ticket template for you to use in PowerPoint.  Simply download the file, insert the daily discussion topic, and print them for your students.  Some of the topics I like to discuss as a class are: current events, trending points of interest, controversial matters, and fascinating themes in novels. TIP: Try leaving them in a known area around the classroom so that students can pick them up as soon as they enter the classroom OR greet each student with their entrance ticket at the beginning of class. 

Have you ever *attempted* to have a classroom discussion and it flops because nobody will speak up?  Me, too! It’s the worst!!!  I attribute that silence to my lack of guidelines.  Even if the warm-ups are not meant to be heated debates, it’s still essential to create an environment where students feel safe sharing their thoughts (especially with peers).  These 5 guidelines are a MUST for developing the perfect discussion atmosphere:

The past 4 years of my teaching career, I started off strong, implementing a daily bell ringer… BUT if I’m being honest, by the third month of school, my brain was exhausted and the daily bell ringers no longer existed.  I thought to myself, “…if only I had a year’s worth of bell ringer prompts in an organized fashion” and then decided to take on the challenge myself.  I’ve created two volumes of middle and high school ELA bell ringer journals.  They include 275 themed prompts that will span from the beginning of the school year all the way to the end.  It’s a stressed teacher’s dream—you’ll never have to come up with a bell ringer topic again! Hallelujah! Click on the pictures below to find out more information.

So, just to re-cap... Be sure to start a daily routine with your students using bell ringers, entrance tickets, or some other for of warm up activity.  Use those activities to then foster classroom discussion using the guidelines I provided in step 3 of this blog post! To access the FREE entrance & exit ticket template to use with your students, click the image below and download it as a PowerPoint presentation.  Thanks for reading! 

For additional bell ringer products, check here:
-English Bell Ringers by Presto Plans
-Growth Mindset Bell Ringers by The Daring English Teacher
-Poetry Bell Ringers by Nouvelle ELA
-Bell Ringer Writing Prompts by The Classroom Sparrow
-Grammar Bell Ringers by Secondary Sara

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