4 Benefits of Warm-Up Activities in the Classroom

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If you’ve ever struggled with groggy or over-active students in the morning, this blog is for you. Morning is a critical time for students as they transition into the classroom and settle into the school day. We know that the first 30 minutes of the school day can really set the stage for the day, so it’s important to think through how we utilize this time.  

4 Benefits of Warm-Up Activities in the Classroom

It’s always tough when students come into the classroom feeling tired, and you’re battling to get them awake and active. It’s even harder when students have clearly experienced chaos before coming to school, and you need to comfort them and get them focused for the day. We have the ability to help students switch their brains on for learning for the day with warm-up activities!

What are Bellringers or Warm-ups?

To put it simply, a bellringer or warm-up is an activity, assignment, or assessment that students complete as soon as they enter the classroom. They are typically called bellringers because they’re done right before or right after the bell rings to start the school day.  
For some classrooms, this looks like students coming in, unpacking their items, and then writing in their journals. Other teachers have unfinished work from the day before ready to go on students’ desks, or an activity to engage students in. Even simpler, some teachers opt to have students read independently as the bellringer.  

How Long Should a Bellringer Last?

Warm-up activities and bellringers should take about 5 to 10 minutes. These are intended to be short activities that can be completed independently. The purpose is to have a predictable start for the day, and can set students up for success by helping them focus and engage in material to warm up their brains.

How to Use Bellringers and Their Benefits

Warm-up activities have lots of benefits, and they are pretty easy to put together once you have a solid routine. Let’s dig into the benefits of warm-up activities and bellringers.

#1 Transition Smoothly into the School Day

Bellringers are used as a transition to the school day and to provide structure. This is great for students who thrive on routine or those who need a little bit of time to get settled before learning new information. Essentially, a bellringer is like letting your car heat up in the morning before you drive off! It’s your time to slowly begin your day. Even as teachers, we need some transition time! Think about your own morning routine (and maybe even how many cups of coffee you consume), and you can relate to those students who are slow to start in the morning.

#2 Leads to Higher Engagement 

Completing warm-up activities results in higher engagement during lessons. When students are fully awake and present, they are going to be more engaged and able to retain information better. Bellringers work to get students’ brains active and ready for the day before focusing on acquiring new information. 

#3 Gives You Time for Housekeeping

Bellringers provide you with a practical time to take care of any housekeeping items you need before the day officially starts. This could be taking attendance, meeting one-on-one with a student, or passing out work. This time could also be used to set up for an experiment, pull a quick small group, or hand out work that has been graded and needs to be taken home. 

#4 Built-In Review Time

Bellringers or warm-up activities are a great opportunity to review concepts. Because bellringers are intended to be completed independently, you can use them as a gauge for where students are with a particular skill or concept that has already been taught. You could also use this time to give a pre-assessment to get a baseline level for what students know about a topic before you introduce it.

How to Use Bellringers and Their Benefits picture with the title and 4 benefits listed

Want Ready-to-Go Warm-up Activities? 

Warm-up activities should be easy to prepare and simple for students to complete solo. We kept both those things in mind when crafting these resources!

Our Topic Sentence Task Cards are completely differentiated and perfect for students who need to practice both identifying and writing topic sentences in paragraphs (which is a big struggle for a lot of students)!

They’re no-prep, which makes them a perfect warm-up activity! They are available in printable and digital versions, so you can utilize what works best for your students. They are easy to prepare (so you don’t have to spend extra time planning), and they help you easily review topic sentences throughout the year.

Plus, they pair perfectly with our Topic Sentence Youtube video. This means students can watch the video to review any concepts they need help with – which frees up your morning! You can even use the video as one of your warm-up activities.

The Fact and Opinion Differentiated Resource is another great warm-up activity. The resource contains short, easy-to-understand directions (so you won’t spend all morning going over directions) and multiple pages of the same activity (to help students slowly master the skill). This is a skill that can be tricky for lots of students, and this resource includes differentiated and high-interest passages that your students will actually enjoy using to practice. 

This resource is differentiated into two levels, so you can make it work for every student in your classroom. Plus, it pairs perfectly with our Fact and Opinion YouTube video, so students can review the content before they get to work.

Whichever activities you plan to use with your class, bellringers and warm-up activities are an excellent way to start the day off on the right foot. They can boost productivity in your classroom, give students time to regulate, and wake up those students who find mornings to be a challenge (bonus- having time to finish that cup of coffee before it gets cold).

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