Bell Work to Start Each Day!

August is quickly approaching, and with it the slow realization that I actually need to start thinking about September! I’ll be teaching a Grade 5/6 split for the first time in my career, and it dawned on me that I had no suitable bell work for this particular grade.   It was time to get to work!

September Grade 5/6 Bell Work

For many years I’ve had my students do “bell work”, in the form of answering one prompt each morning while I take care of attendance, reading notes from parents, etc.  Most of the tasks are directly curriculum related, while others are on the creative side.  I mix things up daily:  one day they might be working on a probability task, the next day on analogies, and the third day responding to a persuasive writing prompt.  I’ve found that this approach prevents boredom, both for me and my students!  It was time to gather my resources and get some bell work ready for my new students. 

I had already created bell work for Grades 2, 3/4, 5, and 6, so I decided to take out the Grade 5 and 6 bell work and see which prompts I felt would work well for both grades, both in terms of curriculum expectations AND interest level.  I always make September’s work fairly easy, so that everyone is able to handle the tasks independently, and then increase the challenges as the year goes by.  I took the same approach as I put together a year’s work of Grade 5/6 bell work.

Each month’s bell work fits on one double-sided sheet of paper; I usually print on coloured paper just to make it stand out more inside a student’s desk, should it come loose from his/her notebook.  I copy ALL 10 months the month before school starts, and file them by month.  I keep the original sheets in page protectors within the file folders as well.


When students enter the classroom on the very first morning of the school year, I have them find their desk and put their backpacks, lunches, etc under it.  I have already put a lined bell work notebook on their desks, along with the September bell work sheet, two sharpened pencils and an eraser.  I ask them to write the date at the top of the first blank page of their notebooks, and put a “1” to the left of the margin at the left hand side of the page.  (Sometimes I’m even organized enough to have this displayed on the Smartboard as well!)  I then have them read the first prompt and answer in their notebooks.  I want them to know from the very first minute of the year that work will be the priority in our class.  Only once I’ve taken up the work will I start dealing with the nuts and bolts of how we will run our classroom!  From then on students know that this is how every day will start, and I don’t need to remind them what to do (well, maybe sometimes:)!




If you’d like to try this bell work in your own classroom, click the image to the left and download this freebie from my store!  I’d love to hear how it works for you.

This bell work is also available as a PDF/Google Slides bundle.  This makes it easy to have students with IEP accommodations working on the same tasks as the rest of the class.  It is also perfect for distance learning!



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