Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bell Ringer

I have already mentioned how we write a TON in my class.  Most of it is a freestyle writing activity at the beginning of every class.

How it works...

1.  As the students come in, they sit in their seats, get out their agenda & homework, and start copying the Question of the Day* prompt into their mini journal.  {This is a procedure I drill into them the first week(s) of school.  In the beginning I make a huge deal of who is doing it right, etc.  By the the end of the second to third week, it should be automatic!}

2.  While they are doing this, I set the timer for 4 minutes.  They have to get all of the steps complete in #1 before the timer goes off.

3.  I explain the Question of Day, talk about it, give a personal example, etc.  This only takes about 1-2 minutes.

4.  I turn off a couple of lights and start the music {gasp! Is that Justin Timberlake you're playing, Mrs. Kepley?!?  In school?!?  Scandalous!}  The music (sometimes super cheesy) almost always connects to the Question of the Day.

5.  The student MUST write the WHOLE time the song is playing.  I put a lot of emphasis on this the first couple weeks of school.  In the beginning you will always get the, "I don't know what else to write about" or "I'm finished."  I just respond with, "Write whatever is in your head.  Even if it is not related to the prompt....the main thing is just to write"  At the end of the song, I have the students read over what they wrote and then sign their name.  During the first couple of weeks, I recognize students who were feverishly writing the whole time and the entire class gives them snaps {our special Legally Blonde way to recognize awesomeness}  

6.  While they are writing, I circle around each student to check homework, write in agendas, give pats on the back, etc.

I have found this to be a great way to start class.  It gets the students focused, interested, and I have time to make a little connection with each one before class gets started on the major activities of the day.

*Question of the Day:  Most of the time it ties in with the literature portion of the day.  It may have something to do with the characters and the emotions and/or experiences they have in the novel....a great way to build on personal connections!

Interested?  I have a little freebie at my TpT store!  It includes five Question of the Day prompts and correlating songs.  Enjoy!

Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Homeschooler - TeachersPayTeachers.com

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