Bell Ringer Policies

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Jlaney22, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Jlaney22

    Jlaney22 Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2012

    I will be teaching high school chemistry and the administrator likes bell ringers. I think they are a good idea, but am confused on finding a way that would work well with implementing them. I would like to use them as a review/ reinforcement tool. I have attempted using them in the past and I didn't have a solid policy for going over them/ handing them in. Here are my questions and concerns:

    1.) How often do you collect bell ringers? Most teachers seem to collect them every 5th day on a sheet where they are all together. This seems the most logical and would likely consume the least amount of instructional time. However, I would like to be able to go over the answers. If I go over the answers, I have a feeling students will just not participate in them because they know they will just get the answer. Is there a way to avoid this?

    ----If you do collect the bell ringers every day, what sort of system do you use? How do you keep track of all the papers and what do you do about absent students?

    2.) Chemistry involves problem solving, and many students have trouble with it. Should I avoid these types of questions and stick to concept questions that can be found in their books?


    If someone that successfully uses bell ringers could please outline their procedure for bell ringers and address some of the questions I have, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thank you!
     
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  3. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Jul 14, 2012

    My opinion on #2 is that the bell ringers should reflect whatever concept you have covered that day, whether it is related to problem-solving or not. That will provide you with information about how many students are struggling and with what concepts. :)
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 14, 2012

    Hi, and welcome!

    I don't ever collect my "Do Now" problems.

    Sometimes they're an intro to what we'll be doing today, sometimes they're a review of what we did yesterday. Sometimes they're SAT prep questions (even with freshmen and sophs-- I just have to be kind of choosy.)Sometimes they're just generic review-- when I taught 7th grade about 6 years ago, they did times tables for 3 or 4 minutes every day for 4 months.

    Sometimes the problems are easy, sometimes they're more challenging. It doesn't matter-- the kids know that they're to TRY.

    Don't assume that your kids will find the problem solving hard. Assume that you're such a great teacher that they'll understand the difficult concepts when they come up.

    As to them not doing the problems-- that's a function of the mood you set in your class the very first day.
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 14, 2012

    I collect bell ringers every day.
    Once every student has turned in, we review the answers.
    I enter them in the grade book quickly (there isn't much to grade).
    If a student is absent, they are exempt that day.
    If the bell ringer is about the day before and the student was absent, his bell ringer for him is to write his name on a paper and the word 'absent.'

    I use half sheets of paper, scrap from the printer/copier.

    Grabbing the half sheet and looking at the board for the bell ringer simply becomes a part of the routine for students.

    Do you have a digital projector? I use 1 PowerPoint slide per class for the bell ringer so I can just pull up the bell ringer between classes instead of erasing and rewriting (I teach 7 classes and 4 different courses).
     
  6. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Jul 14, 2012

    You could always have them do them in notebooks they leave in the room that are passed out every morning. Then you can just look through them without grading them at your leisure and if someone is not putting in the effort or making mistakes you can deal with that student individually.
     
  7. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jul 14, 2012

    My bellwork is included in the work that is collected that day. I typically only collect work twice a week so that's about all I see of the bellwork. I'm with Alice on the completion rate. My kids do it because that's what we do.

    As far as the composition of it, I really like having my students write their note interactions (questions for me) for their bellwork. High school might be different and they may do this on their own time but with my 7th graders giving them 5 minutes works great and, obviously, serves as a simple review tool.
     
  8. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Jul 14, 2012

    For my "Do Nows", I try to make them more like an anticipatory set. I usually don't go over them until like midway through the lesson. For example, I might have them just set up but not solve an equation to represent a situation, but they might not have the skills to solve it yet. Then once I teach them the skills, I say "return to Do Now...how may we proceed?"
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 14, 2012

    I give "Daily Writing Tips" each day with some sort of spelling rule, grammar issue, interesting vocabulary, trivia, etc. I give a quiz over the tips 3 times a term, and that's what I use as the grade. If they completed all of the tips, they'll make an easy A because I let them use what they've written on the quiz.
     
  10. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Jul 14, 2012

    I give students a paper each Monday with five boxes on it--one for each day of the week. They write their warm-ups down on the paper, and hold onto them until Friday, when I collect them. Warm-ups are 10 points per week (or 2 points per day if we don't have a full week of classes.)

    I think the key to getting warm-ups to work is consistency. I have one every single day, without fail. I like to give opinion-based questions that all students can answer, even if they were not in class the previous day. (My questions usually reflect what we studied the previous class, and I use them as an intro to that day's lesson.)
     
  11. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2012

    Nice idea.
    What do you do for an absent student?
     
  12. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2012

    Each week I post them as a running list through our learning management system (Angel/Blackboard). They are expected to write down any they missed for the week or get it from a friend. :)

    I try to keep the information kind of fun and entertaining, and I get some of them from the website Daily Writing Tips (that's why I started calling it that). I have a few other books of funny or interesting English trivia that I pull from as well. I always tell them that one day they're going to get into Cash Cab or some other game show and win a million dollars because of this information. I expect a 10% cut. ;)
     
  13. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2012

    And now I'm going to Diigo to bookmark the site. I've been wondering what to do for bellwork if you accept the Everyday Editing idea that sentences filled with errors aren't the best practice. I've learned so much from Bandnerd and KU. I wish you girls were in my PLC. :D
     
  14. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Jul 15, 2012

    I end up walking around the room with the gradebook every week or two to check them. I couldn't get away with simply having them as "what we do", but without assigning a grade. The students in my building are ULTRA vigilant as to what is graded, and what is not, and refuse to do any work that isn't.

    They would start doing the bell ringers up until a few weeks into the school year, and when they realized they weren't graded, 75% of the kids would stop doing them. This was my experience a few years ago anyway. So now I have to check them.

    Basically, if I don't assign a point value to something, most of my students refuse to do it. It's frustrating beyond belief, but so be it. I do understand where they're coming from too.... if they see no direct benefit, they don't want to bother.
     
  15. LilyGirl01

    LilyGirl01 Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2012

    When I taught sixth grade, my students had a warm up and a bell ringer, each taking ten minutes.

    They were graded. The students liked that it was a good way to get some more points on their grade.
     
  16. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2012

    :) KU and I have talked about that before... we need to make an AtoZ dream school. :hugs:
     
  17. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2012

    Wouldn't that be nice. Is that anything like fantasy football? Build your ideal staff and see how it plays out. Ha, ha.


    I'm so glad you said that. It's the same way at our school, so I have to have some system for student accountability or they won't do it. My students want to know what's in it for them. It's frustrating at times, but you have to accept the students you have and work with them.
     
  18. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Jul 16, 2012

    I used journal questions as a warm-up. The questions were a review previous material.

    Students came into the classroom, picked up their journal and
    wrote and answered the warm up question that was projected for
    them in it. After I had checked attendance and so on, I
    projected a possible answer to the question. We would spend
    about three minutes (max) reviewing the question and kids
    could make any changes to their answers they needed or
    wanted. I used the time as a "mini-lecture" to reinforce content.

    To assess the journals, I would grab a few each class period
    and flip through them, as I had time. I would also assess a
    few every day during my conference or after school. I always
    tried to leave very specific feedback, never grades, for the
    kids. Sometimes I looked at very specific entries, sometimes
    random ones. I marked the pages I reviewed with a sticky
    note. Often I wrote on the sticky note too.this served two
    purposes. 1) I knew which journals I had looked at, and
    which still needed my attention. 2) It signaled that there
    was feedback for the kids. I could usually get through every
    journal in a week. On Mondays, kids could remove the
    stickies, and put them on the page that I reviewed. This way
    There weren't lots of them sticking out, confusing everyone.
    I also used a different color every week, just to keep things
    organized for me. I'm kinda anal that way.

    I never used anything in the journals for an actual grade.
    All graded work was done on separate paper.

    At the end of each marking period, we had a journal test. It
    covered material in the journal. They could use the journal
    on the test. This added incentive to keep the journals
    up-to- date.

    After the test, the kids folded the last page in half, and we
    started new on a fresh sheet.
     
  19. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2012

    Aw, Sumner and Band! :)

    We are some sort of PLC, right? We learn from each other here.

    :)
     
  20. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2012

    I rarely collect bell work, unless I decide to make it a pop quiz. There is one teacher in my building who collects every day, but with a twist. There are six rows in his classroom. He will roll a die when he is ready to collect bell work. Whichever number comes up, that is the row he will collect and grade. Cuts down on grading AND keeps students doing the work since they never know when theirs will be collected (and he doesn't accept "wait, I need to finish mine", so you better work as soon as you get in the door.)
     
  21. trulyunic

    trulyunic Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2012

    I really like this idea....but how would one deal with 'not grading the other students' and keeping things balanced in the gradebook and also in the minds of the students (and me lol) who wonder what would happen if their row wasn't called on for 4 classes straight etc?

    I like the idea but not fully understanding it...any ideas?

     
  22. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Jul 22, 2012

    Final grades are based on weighted averages. Warmups were worth about 5 points each and counted in as a classwork assignment. In our computer gradebook if you left a student's score blank, that assignment was not figured into their grade. Their classwork grade is figured by their earned points versus points possible for only those assignments given a grade. That is then used in the weighted average grade.
     
  23. trulyunic

    trulyunic Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2012

    Thanks for the explanation!
    I like weighted grades but so many in my dept like points....i'll def keep ur way of doing it in mind.

     
  24. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jul 22, 2012

    I have seen bellringers done in a few different ways:
    - 8th grade English: about 5 minutes worth of grammar problems (even if grammar wasn't covered in the lesson), students do independently, class goes over it, and corrections must be made with red. After about 2-3 weeks there is a test on the material. So bell ringers are not collected nor graded, but the test is.
    - 7th grade History, same school: student used clickers. There are about 5 questions, students do independently, class goes over it, after results are gathered via computer, corrections are made. Students use 1 sheet for 1 week's worth of bellringers, and of the week they're collected. Graded as classwork.

    At the detention center this is what i had done:
    - high school World geography: warm up, it can be questions about material from before, define new vocabulary from book, questions relating to material covered that day. Student do independently, class goes over. Kept in folder, when finished with the section, all classwork, including warm up is graded for completion.
    - High school English: pretty much the same way, but it also included journal writing. It was always graded for completion. And correction, of course, since we went over it.

    If I had 6 different classes, and decided to grade them, i would probably do random grading, only for completion, or find a way for the students to grade it for me (it can be very quick and time efficient: switch papers in same class, mark each correct answer, add up points etc.)
     
  25. TechnoMage

    TechnoMage Companion

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    Jul 25, 2012

    Bell what???

    If you have bellwork it has to mean something or the students won't do it.

    Slow students either can't finish it, or don't finish it.

    If you start before they are finished is this fair?

    If it does not count, then is it fair?

    If it does not count then why do it at all.

    Oh yes, because admin(s) think it looks good on paper, or they read this book, or some prof (not teacher) said it was good.

    I am ready to teach but some student(s) are not ready because they are still doing the all wonderful "bellringer".

    You can instead, plan to start teaching when the bell rings.

    Give the students an ongoing reading, writing, working (problems), flash cards, etc... YOU are a teacher, YOU know what works, admin(s) really do not or if they did they forgot.

    DO WHAT WORKS for YOU.

    And if bell ringers are your thing, and your students actually get a lot out of them, do it because it actually works.

    I, personally reject those things which do not work for me.:woot: Bellringers cramp my style, trip me up, make me late, take up valuable time, MY students have never seemed to get anything out of them.

    I do not do them. I do the other things I mentioned. Or I teach at the bell.

    TechnoMage
    Retired but still in the trenches:dizzy:
     
  26. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 25, 2012

    I call them kick-starters. ;3

    They're always about what we covered the previous lesson, to give them review and reinforce the concept that we don't just learn things and immediately forget them.

    On Fridays, I give out a short quiz that asks the same types of questions the kick-starter's through the week ask. This makes them meaningful for students to review them.

    I collect them on a weekly basis and read them and check them off and read their learning logs (which are on the same page). It's basically graded on a check, check plus, or check minus system. (If it meets expectations, it's particularly profound, or they just didn't complete it.) There are no actual point values for them, and they don't affect the grade in any way. They only let me know where my students stand in the material, and what they have questions about (they record this in their learning log). They get graded through the Friday quiz anyhow. (which they grade in partners themselves)

    If they're not completed by the binder check, which happens about once a month, then they lose points for that section. (They record the questions as well as the answers so if they don't know the answer at the time of the kick-starter but ask about it later, they can fill it in)
     
  27. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2012

    I'm a chemistry teacher as well. The kids do their do nows in the last section of their 3 subject notebook. The notebook is collected once a marking period for a classwork grade. To be honest as long as most of them are there and attempted they get full credit. When it's a problem we go over it in class.
     
  28. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jul 25, 2012

    Bellwork always starts with the direction to copy HW. My bellwork varies from day to day and some days I just dive into the lesson because I need the extra time. I rarely grade the bellwork, sometimes don't collect it esp. if it was just a brain teaser. I've rarely had issues with kids not doing it. I always review it and then start class. Since the bellwork usually involves some sort of review or "get 'em thinking about the topic", I don't feel I need to collect it all the time. I also give pop quizzes for bellwork. They are often only worth a few points. Pop quizzes in class are worth more. Oh, I should mention that I use name cards to randomly call on kids, so that probably helps make sure they work on it.
     
  29. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2012

    A lot of great ideas here. I had this exact conversation with a fellow science teacher recently, and this is what we came up with: Use the bell ringers as a "pop quiz." Each day give a question, but only collect and grade if you feel the students aren't 'getting it' (and you only give completion points) or if you think they simply aren't studying (which is when you grade it!).

    Also, I had a professor in college who each day had a student pick a number from 1-6. Then, she would roll a die. If the die landed on the number that was picked, we got a quiz. If not, we lived to fight another day! While we did not often have quizzes, I can tell you that I NEVER forgot to study for that class.

    As a chemistry teacher, I understand the situation regarding calculations. I suppose it depends on the class... if you think they need practice with the math, then you should probably give them calculation questions.
     
  30. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jul 25, 2012

    I have used them some years and others years I have not. Some years I use them in some classes and others, not at all. I usually required them to be turned in for a grade randomly and graded them for completion at the end of the term. Most of the time mine were writing based (a paragraph or so; sometimes more).

    Currently, however, I do not do a warmup. If kids come in before the bell they are allowed to talk to those around them quietly. As soon as the bell rings we are down to business.
     

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