Why I don’t like bellringers.

Everybody does things differently. (duh) One things that I am not great at is structure.  What I mean is that I am just not great at having something prepared and up on the board before the kids come in.  Also, I teach 3 classes in 3 different classrooms which are in use every period meaning I am rarely in my classroom before my students.  So, this is all to say, I am neither good at, nor have the right set up for, bellringers/warm ups.

That’s not the only reason why I don’t do them because both of those pieces could be overcome if I really wanted to. But I don’t.  I don’t want to. 

Most of my students come straight from another class (science, history, english… ) and their brains are still reeling.  Five minutes is not really enough time for a full reboot from Analyzing Shakespeare to the Unit Circle, at least it’s not for me.  Also, their brains are full of things to tell me, their friend, the class and I want them out.  Not just because I think it clears the way for math but also because I want to know what they want to tell me.  

I like to use the first five minutes to get our lives together.  To get in the math mindset and to bond because part of the reason they don’t want to disappoint me is because I care and they know it everyday.

I understand this is harder in a class of 30, that this is harder in a class with less structure.  But I also know that for me, bellringers and warmups didn’t work in my 35 kid class, either. 

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3 thoughts on “Why I don’t like bellringers.

  1. Glad to hear that someone else is as unenthusiastic about bellringers/do-nows as me!

    Did you ever have to teach in a place where you wrote the standard of the day on the board too? I didn’t, but oh boy….

  2. Both schools where I’ve worked require the standard on the board every day claiming that research shows it helps students. I usually do it for a while, but the kids never care about it and when I ask them, they say it doesn’t matter whether it’s up there or not.

    Maybe I get it for a less structured subject where having the main theme of the class period presented is helpful. But, in my math class I always introduce the idea and write it as I go.

    Plus, in “real life” you don’t get nicely segregated concepts to work with. Nothing is going to flash up “quadratics” when you begin thinking about how to build your bridge or whatever. Finding patterns and concepts is one of the main lessons of math as a whole and I want my students to find them even on the meta level of what is today’s class about.

  3. I don’t use bellringers/warm-ups either. And I have the same reasons behind not doing them as you–they just don’t work for me and I’d rather spend the time connecting with my students.

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