**The tone of a class is set well before students walk in the door.**

This is true for all grades and ages. Yet, it is easier to talk about than put into practice.

I would like to provide you with simple, yet effective ways to set the tone for your classroom starting from the very beginning.

**Greeting Students**

Standing at the door and greeting students by name makes a huge difference in how they enter the room and prepare for the day.

This is your opportunity to have positive contact with all students even before they enter your class! For students who you’re working on building trust with, take this time to chat about their interests outside of school.

You might ask how their game went or what they enjoy about the book they’re reading. Make it a priority to have** 2 points of positive contact** with students before the start of the lesson.

Depending on your age group, you can give students the choice in how they greet you: *handshake, high five, *or *hug. *One time I even had individual handshakes for each student. Do what works for you and your kids!

**Bell Work or Do Now**

Bell work or Do Now is the next item that must be in place well before students step into your classroom. Here are 6** things** to keep in mind when implementing a bell work or do now routine:

1. Post it in the **same place** every day.

2. It is something that students can complete **independently** so that you can take attendance or touch base with students around the room.

3.** Relevancy and Low Stakes** is key. Bell work/Do Now is NOT busy work or another worksheet. It is meant to prep students for the learning that will take place or to review what they have already earned.

4.** Keep students accountable.** They may turn in their bell work for participation grade or use it to launch into the day’s learning. Bell work/Do Now is nonnegotiable & a routine that sets the tone for the learning that’s about to take place.

5. Reinforce and practice. Teach the bell work/do now routine from day 1. **Practice and reinforce** by pointing out what students are doing well and having them reenter if they are not following expectations. As the teacher, you are setting the stage for learning and inviting students to participate in the process. High expectations and care for students is communicated from the very beginning with the bell work/do now routine.

6. Know that bell work/do now is NOT your lesson. It should take **5-7 minutes MAX. **If you find yourself spending too much time on bell work or on correcting it, then the bell work isn’t truly bell work. It’s meant to reinforce concepts or prepare, not to teach.

**Bell Work/Do Now Suggestions**

~Low Prep & High Yield~

This doesn’t have to be a high stressor for teachers. In fact, this routine will put more ownership on students and increase learning outcomes when followed with fidelity. Remember, keep bell work/do now between 5-7 minutes. If you struggle with time management, set a timer, and stick to it!

Here are a variety of suggestions of things that I’ve done or seen other teachers do. Pick what works for you!

*General Bell Work/Do Now*

- Independent Reading. Students are giving the first 5-7 minutes of class to read independently. They are then given 2 minutes to discuss what they read with a partner either at their seats or using a
**mix-pair-share**(kids mix around the room and pair up with someone else).

*Math Bell Work*

- Notice & Wonders Pose a mathematical question connected to the lesson. Ask students to write down what they notice or wonder. Use this bell work to launch into the lesson.
- Retrieval Practice. Have 3 different questions on the board. The first question reviews learning from the previous unit. The second question reviews learning from earlier that week, and the third question previews what will be learned that day. For example, the third question could require students to predict or infer using prior knowledge.
- What’ the Pattern? Pose 2-3 problems that are related to the day’s lesson. Ask students to identify any patterns or similarities between the problems. For example, I posed the following question, “What’s the pattern? 2, 20, 200. 3, 30, 300.” Students recorded all the patterns they noticed which helped us launch into the day’s lesson. Use this bell work to launch into the day’s lesson.

*Language Arts Bell Work*

- Grammar Minute. Use this to reinforce skills already learned. Students correct written work or identify parts of speech in the posted sentence(s). They might take & fill out a pre-made slip from a designated spot in the class, complete the work in a bell work notebook, or complete on a whiteboard.
- Notice & Wonders. Write a sentence with the grammar skill you’re learning that day on the board or slip of paper. Have students record their notices and wonders either on a whiteboard or the slip of paper. You can also post a short excerpt from a passage you’ll be reading in class that day. They will record their notices and wonders on the passage. This bell work prepares them to launch into the day’s lesson.

*Science Bell Work*

- Notice & Wonders. Post an image or diagram related to what you’re learning that day. Students record their notices and wonders either on a whiteboard, sticky note, or teacher-made graphic organizer.
- What do you Hope to Learn: Post the lesson objective. Ask students to list 2-3 things they hope to learn in that class based on the objective. Have them discuss with their partner, then collect. Anything listed that isn’t connected to the objective can be addressed one-on-one or used to design a future lesson based on student interest.

*Bible Bell Work*

- 3, 2, 1. Share the topic or passage you’ll be studying in Bible. This can be posted on the board or on a printed out page. Have students list 3 things they already know about that topic, 2 questions they have about the topic, and 1 thing they’re looking forward to with the day’s lesson. Have students discuss with a partner. At the end, students revisit the bell work to confirm or change the 3 things they already knew, answer their 2 questions, and respond to what they were looking forward to.
- Notices & Wonders. Select a verse that is foundational to the passage or topic you’ll be studying. Have students record their notices and wonders either on a whiteboard, sticky note, or graphic organizer that has the verse at the top. Use their bell work to launch into the day’s learning. Students can then revisit the bell work at the end of the lesson to solidify their learning.
- What do you Hope to Learn: Post the lesson objective. Ask students to list 2-3 things they hope to learn in that class based on the objective. Have them discuss with their partner, then collect. Anything listed that isn’t connected to the objective can be addressed one-on-one or used to design a future lesson based on student interest.

*Specials Bell Work*

**Art:**Post an image with key concepts you’ll be studying that day. Have students record everything they notice about that image. Then, have them write 2-3 inferences based on the image. This is called, “I see, and I think.” They could also record their notices and wonders which will help launch them into the day’s lesson.**Foreign Language**: Retrieval Practice. Have 3 different questions on the board. The first question reviews learning from the previous unit. The second question reviews learning from earlier that week, and the third question previews what will be learned that day. For example, the third question could require students to predict or infer using prior knowledge.**Technology:**Use Google Forms, Nearpod, or Kahoot as your platform for bell work. Using these platforms, you can create your own retrieval practice, notices & wonders, or what I hope to learn questions.

While there are plenty more bell work options, these are the few that are low prep enough that you could implement them **tomorrow!**

Set the tone with your students by greeting them and having bell work/do now in place.

Pick 1 strategy and practice using it for an entire week. It takes time for procedures to become routine in the classroom! Don’t be discouraged if it works for 3 days and flops on the 4th. Keep with it by holding yourself and kids accountable. There is joy in knowing what to do and what’s expected of you the minute you walk into the classroom. Kids thrive when there’s a predictable routine that pushes them in their learning.

Let us know what works for you and if you have any other greeting or bell work suggestions!