Sets Positive Tone
Bell work is a great way to separate the social atmosphere in the hallways outside the classroom and the work environment you hope to create inside your classroom. The perfect way to separate those two worlds is to have a Bell Work activity -- an activity that students will get to work on as soon as they enter the work environment of the classroom.
Fred Jones offers these tips for creating a classroom culture where Bell Work immediately focuses students when they walk into the classroom.
When you describe Bell Work to your students on the first day of school, instruct them never to ask you whether there is Bell Work today. There is Bell Work every day. It always will be posted in the same place on the chalkboard.
Keep Bell Work simple. If you are a science teacher, how about four questions from yesterday? If you are a math teacher, how about four problems from yesterday? Make them doable. This is not the midterm exam. If the students were here yesterday and were paying attention, they can start answering those questions or doing those problems.
Bell Work should not saddle you with an extra stack of papers to grade. Some teachers flip through Bell Work quickly and put an "X" in a column of the grade book for those students who gave it a decent try. Other teachers farm out the job to students who are on the "clerical work committee" that week. The purpose of Bell Work is get kids focused and start them thinking, not to assess performance.
Beginning the New School Year: Bell Work
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