Magazine article Techniques

Using Bell Ringers in the CTE Classroom

Magazine article Techniques

Using Bell Ringers in the CTE Classroom

Article excerpt

"WHAT ARE WE DOING TODAY, MRS. B?" As a health services technology instructor at Northwest Technical School in Maryville. Missouri, for five years, I have repeatedly heard this question from my students as soon as they hit their seats. My responses ranged from sarcasm to silence until I discovered bell ringers.

Who Are Bell Ringers?

Depending on where you are from, bell ringers are called different names: mind benders, parachute openers, warm-ups, morning minutes. But its purpose remains the same--to productively engage students as soon as they enter the classroom. A bell ringer is both a classroom management tool and an educational strategy to get students on task and ready to learn from the minute they walk into the room (or from the moment the bell rings; hence the name).

Educational and motivational speaker Harry Wong in his best-selling book. The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, suggests bell ringers as one of a teacher's strategies in classroom management. I heard of bell ringers in workshops I attended as a career and technical education (CTE) instructor teaching nurses and other students in health care. I had even used them once in a while, but I put off giving them serious consideration until last summer. Then I attended the "Technical Centers That Work" leadership training and conference in Charleston, North Carolina, in January this year, along with two other teachers and our school director in Louisville, Kentucky. As a team of four, we put together a plan of action which included the implementation of daily bell ringers for all teachers in our school building. Here are some examples:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"THEY HELP ME START THE CLASS IN THE RIGHT WAY."

ASHLEY, 17, STUDENT

For Business Class

The instructor posts a question each day on her blog. Students log in and post a comment/answer to the question, (Each student has a computer in class.) The following are examples of questions and answers:

* Question 1: What an.' the files in your hard drive which store Web site data for every page or URL that you visit?

Answer: cookies

* Question 2: One type of computer network goes by the - acronym LAN. What does LAN stand for?

Answer: Local Area Network

For Family and Consumer Sciences, or Health Science, or Child Care Class

The instructor distributes a handout with the following information, and students are asked to identify the sentences as either facts or myths. This served as an introduction to the chapter on nutrition.

Myths or facts:

* Eating carbohydrates makes you W.

* Drink eight, 8-oz. glasses of water per clay.

* Brown grain products are whole-grain products.

* Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol.

* All alcohol is bad for you.

* Vitamin supplements are necessary for everyone.

* Consuming extra protein is necessary to build muscle mass.

"BELL RINGERS HELP ME THINK."

--KELSEY, 18, STUDENT

* Eating fiber causes problems if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

* Eating immediately after a workout will improve recovery.

* Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating foods low on the glycemic index. Answer: All of the above are myths.

For Technical and Industrial Programs (Building Trades, Collision Repair, Automotive Technology, Welding)

The instructor gives each student a worksheet with questions to answer.

Questions:

* ________ numbers refer to complete units with no fractional parts. …

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