You’ve decided to take the leap in establishing bell work into your class routine. Great! Bell work is one of the most important ways to start your class period off on the right foot. But how will you get your students to take their bellwork seriously? Do you establish it as a graded assignment in your classroom?
We’ll dive into whether or not you should grade bellwork and also give you some bellwork shortcuts.
Bellwork goes by many names: Question of the day, bell ringers, and warm-ups. But the purpose is all the same.
Bellwork is a short assignment that students complete during the first five minutes of class.
For students, bellwork settles the class and gets them into the right mindset. Students start class off more focused and ready to learn. Bell work also is an excellent opportunity for students to practice and review materials that will make them more successful for their lessons.
Bell work also helps teachers. Teachers will have time to take attendance, pass back papers, and talk to individuals in a calm classroom environment. Bellwork is a crucial classroom management tool.
Just like anything in a real-world classroom, the answer is nuanced. Traditional education research tends to say not to grade bellwork because it functions as a formative assessment, and formative assessment is not for grading. But the reality is that some formative assessments, like bellwork, need to be graded. Here are some things to consider while determining your grading policies for bellwork:
There are several ways to grade bellwork. Here are some ways to grade bellwork (and keep your sanity!).
It can feel overwhelming to grade bellwork every day. But you can take up bellwork once a week and grade a week’s worth of bellwork. You can make this process a little easier by having a bellwork worksheet that you use every week to keep all of your student’s bellwork more organized.
Peer grading is a powerful teaching tool that can reduce grading for you. Peer grading allows students to see how other students approached a problem, and it allows students to correct peer work using their own language. This makes concepts more approachable to students.
Many teachers combine the weekly bellwork grading with the stamp method. With the stamp method, teachers stamp student answers to bellwork daily. This signifies that students participated in bellwork. They get points for this. Then teachers will grade for accuracy weekly. Students receive grades from two sources this way.
One way to solve your bellwork grading woes is to switch to digital worksheets with auto-grading functionality. TeacherMade makes it easy to create short and simple assignments that you can auto-grade. It frees up a lot of time for teachers, and you get instant feedback that informs daily lessons.
The best way to save time in the 2022- 2023 school year is by simplifying tasks you do daily in your classroom, like bell work.
Stop reinventing the wheel. Take assignments and resources that you already have and split them into smaller pieces. You can use a larger assignment for an entire week of bell work.
Stop doing long and drawn-out review periods before big standardized tests. Instead, review a little at a time. Take state test prep materials and use them for source material. Take a few questions at a time and use this as a weekly review time for bellwork. The material will stay fresh on your student’s minds with consistent practice.
Paper bell work can get hard to manage. Use TeacherMade to digitize your bell work. With TeacherMade, it’s simple to convert materials you already have and make online bellwork.
We recommend online bell work so that you can also utilize auto-grading. Auto-grading saves you time but also allows your bellwork to give you instant feedback. As soon as students complete their bellwork, you instantly know what questions caused struggle. You can emphasize these points in your lesson.