Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.
As a new school year begins, business education students can benefit from warm-up activities to grab their attention at the beginning of class. After a weekend, a holiday break, or even a night away from school, these “bell ringers” are perfect for priming student attention and preparing them to learn.
When you are looking for bell ringers to use in your classroom, you want to find activities that will make your students alert and get them into the daily learning routine as quickly as possible. Not only do you want activities to be fun, but you also want warm-ups that will tie in directly with the content you teach each day.
Every day, we help business educators like you who want to boost student engagement while saving valuable instructional time.
In this post, you’ll find five compelling bell ringer activities for business classes:
Question of the Day
Student Check-Ins with Google Forms
Current Event Activities
Warm Up Surveys
These warm-up exercises can come in various forms and can benefit students of many different learning styles. Depending on the type of business education courses you teach, one kind of bell ringer may be more effective than others.
After reading the article, you should have a greater idea of what types of warm-up activities are available and how you can implement them to encourage learning with your students.
1. Question of the Day
One classic example of a bell ringer is offering a Question of the Day. The Question of the Day is a warm-up question designed to get students thinking, usually about material from the previous day’s class. You can also offer a question that previews content that you will teach during the upcoming class period.
The key to a compelling Question of the Day is to make sure that it is not easy enough that students can answer it in a couple of words. Instead, you want to introduce questions that require critical thinking or invite various responses and opinions.
When students finish answering the daily question, discuss their responses as a class. This conversation will serve as a great transition to the rest of your lesson.
2. Student Check-Ins with Google Forms
Another great way you can prepare your students for class is by privately asking them simple questions about how they are doing using Google Forms.
Jacqueline Prester, a business teacher at Mansfield High School in Massachusetts, uses Google Forms to encourage her students to communicate how they are doing and understand any potential learning obstacles they may be facing outside of class.
At the beginning of each class period, Prester directs students to fill out a Google Form that asks how students have slept, about their breakfast or lunch, and how they are doing outside of class on a scale of one to five. Prester’s students also have the opportunity to share anything they would like her to be aware of. Over time, she uses the data from surveys to analyze student performance in her classes.
Her reasons for using this simple bell ringer are clear:
“Building relationships and earning the trust of my students is an important part of my teaching. I want to deliver my subject material in an effective manner, but if my students aren’t in the proper mindset to receive the new content in my classroom, then no amount of good teaching will reach them.” - Jacqueline Prester
For Prester, student check-ins are a simple but powerful way to show her students how much she cares about them.
Because they are adaptable and easy to implement, Google Forms can be a great way to gather feedback from students. When used consistently, they can be a way to bring your students together for the beginning of class.
3. Keyboarding Warm-ups
Many business education courses involve regular computer work. Still, your students might benefit from an extra boost at the start of class to prepare them for heavy typing or computer-based activities.
With keyboard skills remaining an essential part of comprehensive computer education, regular typing practice is critical to helping students develop as adept keyboardists. Offering typing exercises at the beginning of a class period gives students extra practice while warming up their hands for the day’s digital work.
You can use typing software to track student progress or give your warm-ups a theme to keep students interested and engaged. Regardless, you’ll help students improve their keyboard skills and keep them focused on your class from the start.
4. Current Event Activities
The business world is constantly changing and is affected by events and situations worldwide. Keeping students aware of current events will help them make insightful connections between your courses and the world around them.
For an easy current events bell ringer, you can provide your learners with an article to read at the start of class. You can deliver the article to students as soon as they arrive, so they can dive into reading even before the class period begins.
When your class has finished reading, ask your students to write reflections on how they think the article connects with a topic you are currently discussing. You can then lead the class in a conversation based on their responses. Because each student has read the article, everyone has an opportunity to be active and share their perspectives with their classmates.
Current event activities are repeatable and relatable and are a perfect contextual touchpoint to help learners understand the value of your business classes.
5. Warm Up Surveys
Before diving into a new topic area, it’s useful to gather baseline information about what your students already know about the subject. One quick way to accomplish this is to assign students a short survey as a bell ringer exercise.
Have your students answer a series of questions related to a new subject and ask them to fill in the information they already know. This will give you a decent picture of your learners’ fundamental knowledge of the subject. After looking at the survey results, you’ll be able to evaluate your instructional plans for the topic or unit and plan accordingly based on student performance.
You can also use warm-up surveys to monitor progress in the middle of a unit. When students can’t recall what you have already taught, you can adjust your teaching accordingly to review critical material.
By using surveys, you can quickly check where your students are and make sure that you are making the most out of your instructional time.
Keep Your Business Students Engaged Throughout Your Classes
Bell ringers are a practical and effective way to help students focus and learn in your business classes. Each of these warm-up exercises can help learners transition into the material you are covering in class and inspire class discussions. They can be a powerful way for students to provide feedback on what they already know and what they could be struggling with outside of class.
However, warm-up activities are just one way to help your students transform into focused and engaged learners. Keeping your students engaged throughout each class period is essential to their long-term development of the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
Want more information on how you can employ active learning strategies to keep your students engaged? Dive into this article on student engagement: