top of page

Rules for Bell Work

  • Keep it simple. You should not have to write more than a simple instruction on the board to have the students get busy.

  • Use review as Bell Work.


Primary Examples:

Early in the year, your students may not be able to read, but you can point them to an activity as they enter the classroom.


  • Activity Tubs: Have tubs of any kind of material for them to sort. Let each student decide if they are sorting by color, by shape, etc. They can work as individuals or in groups.

  • Coloring Tubs: Draw a picture of _______ (make it specific).

  • Activity areas: Most kindergarten teachers have activity areas such as a block area or play kitchen that you already use for activities, letting the children chose the area they want to explore. Use these same areas and activities for Bell Work. The idea is that they are given something to do. The classroom is a place for doing.


Elementary Examples:

Have these posted on the board before they come in the room.


  • Use the following three words in complete sentences:_____, _____, _____(Don't forget capitals and periods.)

  • The teacher may choose words from spelling, science, math, or social studies - whatever you wish them to review.

  • Using the lesson plan from chart number 4, work the following math problem:

  • Put in one problem from last night's homework or one similar to it.

  • Use your best printing (handwriting) to write the following sentence:_____I've seen teachers use lines of poems, Shakespeare, or a line from Ben Franklin. Write all of the times tables from 1 x 3 to 12 x 3 with their answers.


John Ketchem of Payson, AZ told us of a teacher in his school whose 4th graders always scored the highest in the district in geography. Her daily Bell Work: She simply had the Student of the Day use a pointer with the map in front of the room. It was what we have come to think of as the "old fashion repeat after me" ploy. It worked. The kids loved to use the pointer and they loved to say the states, capitols, etc. and they learned them.


Language Class Examples:

  • Write out the conjugation for this regular verb:_____(Or irregular verb as the case may be ) They can never practice these enough. If you are worried about them doing it correctly, have them copy the conjugation for the verb instead of guessing.

  • Use the following word in a complete sentence:_____

  • Have pictures on the board numbered from 1-5. Have the students number their page and then write the name of the object in the picture in that language. You may have the words on the board for a matching game.


Social Studies Examples:

  • Write an essay question you feel would be appropriate for the next test. Keep it to no more than three sentences.

  • Write a brief description of something that you discussed in class the day before or that you gave as a reading assignment the night before.

  • Ask them for a comparison of two things they have learned during the week.


Physical Education:

  • Stretch your calf muscles using two different exercises we have used this week for the calves. 15 reps each.

  • Have them practice a skill from this week's area of learning. Use squad leaders to run the exercise or drill. It may be shooting free throws, jumping rope, or bouncing the badmitten birdie up and down on their racquet.



English, Social Studies, Phys. Ed., Math, Science, Music, Home Etc.


  • Write the definition of __________. Use complete sentences.

  • Describe this object. Try to use at least 5 adjectives. Use complete sentences.

  • Solve a riddle, a puzzle, a crossword. See

bottom of page