Friday, August 15, 2014

Warm-Ups/Bellwork/Bellringers - The What, How and Why!

Basic Concepts Bellwork
Picture this:  The bell rings to start another class period, your last student or two tries to sneak as you shut the door so as to not be late and as you turn to greet your class you are met with a wall of noise.  You spend the next five minutes trying to quiet the class down while you take attendance, check-in homework or do other start of class tasks.  Once you are done, you waste another few minutes trying to get the class engaged and on task to start a new lesson, review or to take an assessment.  Suddenly it's 10-15 minutes into class and you have accomplished nothing...  This was a situation I dealt with often my first year - until I found a fantastic solution that is!

Circles Bellwork
My solution gets the students started when they walk in and engages them from the moment the bell rings.  My solution allows me to review previous concepts, preview upcoming topics, assess prior knowledge and direct where my lessons need to go.  They go by many names including Warm-ups, Bell-work, Bell-ringers, entrance cards.  They are nothing new having been around for as long as I can remember.  For those of you who are knew to them, however, I want to fill you in my lifesaver!

Right Triangles Bellwork
What they are:  A set of usually 2 - 5 problems that students work on during the first 5 - 10 minutes of class.  The problems can be solving, writing, explaining or illustrating depending on your topic area.  They are designed to be done individually or sometimes with the assistance of
a partner or notes.  I use them often to review what was on the previous nights assignment to make sure students are ready to move on the next topic. 

Answer Sheet
How to use them:  There many ways to implement them.  Way one:  You can project the problems on the board and give students a weekly recording sheet.  This allows you to save paper.  You can save time by walking around while they are working to stamp it as complete but only collect it once a week to put it in the grade book.  Way two:  You can print the problems on half sheets of paper and have students pick them up on their way in.  Students can hand them in immediately or compile a packet and turn them in once a week. 

Surface Area and Volume Bellwork
Why use them:  Besides the benefit of reviewing previous topics, bell-work can also help students to structure their questions.  Since the number problems is limited, it focus on doing them right.  Bell-work can be used to zero on skill deficiencies or a hole in the learning from the previous day.  Bell-ringers also structure your class from the beginning bell so that students get in to a routine and it lowers the incidences of off-task behaviors.

Quadrilaterals Bellwork

While warm-ups might not be for everyone, I have found nothing but benefits from implementing them!  In addition to the bell-work/bell-ringers/warm-ups pictured in this post I also have Area, Transformations and a money saving bundle!  Each set includes each day on its own page for projection, an answer sheet, an annotated answer key and the student problems double printed on half sheets of paper for handout!

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