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?