Posted in Warm-up activity

Breaking up with my bellringer

What to do in place of a traditional warm-up in a FL class

I love bellringers!  I feel that they start off the class easily.  They provide routine for my class and students.  I can take attendance AND check homework.  While I am checking homework, I can check in with students and answer any questions that they have.  Each day, I would write the name of the class, and right below that, I would write the bellringer.

After working with Sara-Elizabeth and following along with #langchat, I am starting to break up with my bellringer this year.  Essentially, instead of finally working in that ONE book activity that I do (I probably need to break up with my textbook too, but that is a story for another day…), I have started each day with input.  In order to keep myself sane, I have started with a pattern.  We have a rotating block, so our classes drop one day.  My pattern has been:

  • Persona Especial: An interview with one student per week.  This will later be transitioned into a weekend discussion.
  • Song: Starting with a song as input instead of randomly inserting it later.  Also, if I introduce the singer, it involves even more input initially!
  • Reading: I am making sure to have students complete FVR every week.
  • MovieTalk for the song video

Overall, I have found my pattern is working out. Students seem ready to go, and they do seem to pay attention more at the beginning of class than after a traditional bellringer/warm-up activity.  I like that I have maintained some predictability for the students by keeping a pattern.  Also, I have found it helps with my planning to have this pattern as well.  I have to decide about the song, but other than that, I have a starting point from each day.  As I *knock on wood*, I have also found a small moment to take attendance and check homework before it is too late in class.  I will say that the one drawback is that I have not been able to have that one-on-one moment to check with students at the beginning of the block.

How do you start your classes?  How do you check in individually with each student?  Any suggestions as I continue down my bellringer-less road?

 

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9 thoughts on “Breaking up with my bellringer

  1. We start of with a bienvenida each day, from the Creative Language Class blog. A different student does it each day and it gets everyone settled and in a Spanish frame of mind right at the beginning. Also, we find things out about the students. I love it. It ends with ¡Hoy es un buen día! which puts at least me in a good mood!

  2. I have never used bell ringers in Spanish class. I now try to start with a hook – I’m trying to build up a stash of jokes, songs etc based on each topic, but going straight into content. Homework handing in has to be at a quiet point in the lesson. Every time I have marked their books and homework we will start with green pen work, done to music currently Spanish guitar. In green pen they respond to my marking, answer questions I have asked and allow me to check understanding. Typical question: why have I circled the o’s? (when they wrote mi hermana es bajo y gordo) or later on, questions in Spanish to extend their writing.

  3. I use my phone as a timer to keep lessons moving, moving, moving. I’m not sure I’m breaking up with it anytime soon. I always start each lesson with a meme in the TL projected onto the whiteboard. Students stare at that and try to use visual context clues to figure out why it’s funny while I eyeball empty desks and take roll.
    I don’t use a textbook, and I love it. I can go as slow as I need to, and I often invent and re-invent a lesson in order to ensure everyone “gets” it. I am heavily dependent upon creating a Google slide to keep track of everything we’re doing, every day, so I guess it depends on where you want to put your energy!

    1. That is awesome! I will reach out to you when I am textbookless next year! I like the meme as a “bellringer” but I would say that can be good input. For the beginning of class, you need to get as much input in as you can- as opposed to translation, handouts etc.

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