Ideas for Morning Work or Bell Work Activities to Start the School Day


Beginning your Day 
Submitted by: Dollucy Grainger, Pre-k teacher
Have a designated place for all items backpacks, folders, library books, and anything else your students may need to turn in. Then have students mark themselves present by moving a clothespin or card with their name on it. Then have the students do an independent activity such as math tubs with specific activities or a writing exercise for 15 minutes. This activity gives you time to check for parent notes, do your roll, and any other morning changes or problems that may come up.

Bell Work 
Submitted by: Carol
When the bell rings and the children come in after I meet them at the door, they have work to do. I put a quiz, problem or a review of some work on the chalk board. This is called “Bell Work.” The children have a “bell work book” that they complete the work in. They date the page and begin the work as soon as they enter class. This gives me time to do all the administrative jobs that I need to do first thing in the morning. The work is collected and I mark it or I assign someone to mark it. It prevents many disruptions and lets the children realize that they come to class to work.

Daily Geography 
Submitted by: Miley
Since I teach s.s at a middle school as the students come in I have a daily geography question on the board the have to complete before we start the activity of the day. All the questions come straight out of the book!
Grade Level(s): 6-8

Morning Activities 
Submitted by: Bradford Tanner, Grade Level(s): 3-5

By the time the children enter and announcements are done, we end up losing out on most of our first period. To combat this, I have a variety of different activities that my class does depending on the day…


  • Mondays are journal time where they tell me about the weekend (easier than trying to tell me in the hallway, trust me!)
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays are a daily speeddrill in Mathematics (we do addition to start, then subtraction, mixed etc.)
  • Wednesdays are D.E.A.R. time(drop everything and read) and
  • Fridays are Problem of the Week (I use the Quest2000 series for these, but any math style word problem that makes them think is good).

This variety in their morning routine helps focus them immediately on entrance and keep them for the rest of the morning session. 

Morning Activity 
Submitted by: Mer, 4th Grade
To keep the kids in order in the mornings (after we have gone over handwriting all of the letters in cursive), I have gone to several trivia sites. The interesting and appropriate ones I have put on charts or small chart booklets, and I hang one each day for 1st thing in the morning handwriting practice. Not only do they love it, but they learn something also and share them with their parents for an interesting conversation at dinner. Parents love it too.

Morning Bell Work 
Submitted by: Amanda Suchodolski, Second Grade
I found a wonderful activity to use for bellwork while I was student teaching. They are called “Drops in the Bucket” from Frog Publications. What it is is a daily review of Language Arts or Math. The key is that it reviews the skills from the previous year. Each day they focuses on skills such as: beginning sounds, homophones, antonyms, pronouns, geometry, measurement, money, time and many more. The students are able to come in each morning and do the work with confidence and feel success because they already have experience from the previous year. Also, you will feel confident that your class is doing a bit of review each day to strengthen skills needed to grow. They will not be able to forget a skill and will constantly reinforce what is already known. I also use it as a guide for mini-lessons that are needed for large or small groups.

Morning Work 
Submitted by: DeeGee, 3rd
After morning assembly on the playground the students enter the classroom and put their things away. They then take out their journal pouch. The pouch includes their journal composition book and journal prompts which I have provided. Approximately 20 journal prompts are given each month. The students cut them out and paste them in their journals. They spend 15 minutes writing. Upon completing their journal writing they are then responsible for completing the math problem of the day. This is also done in the Math journal. As they complete they bring the book to me and I correct. Students are required to show all work in solving the math problem. By the end of the morning work I have completed attendance and any other related activities that need to be completed in the morning.

Morning Work 
Submitted by: Judith, 4th
I have the assigned handwriting workbook page and the Daily Analogy which they must explain on the board. They have 15 min. to work on both the Daily Analogy and the handwriting. Then we quickly change to daily math word problems. They have 15 min. to work all 4 word problems. We review all the work they have done, they self correct with red pen. On Friday, I review the word problems…they should have 16 problems. 25 points a day for corrected problems. I review the handwriting pages and analogy explanations. 25 points a day. Wednesday no analogy or handwriting…I write on the board…”We are writing, please join us.” They free write for 15 minutes. The last Wednesday of the month, they select one to revise and rewrite for publishing. Then we make a month story book. Friday we have a math word problem quiz, one problem from each day so the kids are definitely energized on getting the problems corrected. They know they will see one a day again on Friday. Then after the word problems, we do a quick mad minute on multiplication problems. We keep a weekly packet to see how fast they are going. All these activities are quick and thought provoking! Lot’s of skills are reviewed!

morning work 
Submitted by: Cyndi Stahr, 4th
I divide my class into colors. I buy fluorescent colored circle stickers and match with the same color highlighter. I ask each child to have a folder for morning work and randemly stick a colored circle on their folder with their name. In my grade book I highlight each childs’ color so I have a quick check of what color I assigned each child. I then assign work either on the board or a review sheet to do as morning work. One idea that the kids like to do is to find the mistakes in three sentences written on the board. This helps them to learn how to edit papers. They place their work in their folder and I call a color each day. The students never know what color I will call so they all do their work. I usually only have 5-6 folders to check each day which helps me keep up with their review work. I can easily see in my grade book what color needs to be called and which students are not using their time wisely.

Promoting Kindness 
Submitted by: mma215
In my class we have what are called RAKS (Random Acts of Kindness). As soon as the students enter in the morning they are to get out their personally decorated RAK journals. They are to then write down all of the random acts of kindness they performed the day before. After they finish writing them all down they are to count them up. We have a RAK bullentin board that is covered with a paper clip chain. After the students count up their RAKS for the day, they count out the same amount of paper clips and add them to the chain. Every Friday the RAKS are counted to see how many nice things our class did for the week. This gives students the opportunity to see how many nice things they do for others! We take just a couple minutes for several students to share their RAKS and we “retire” RAKS that are overused such as holding the door open for someone. The students set goals for how many RAKS they want to have and everytime they reach a goal, the teacher has something “random” for them to enjoy! The kids love it and go out of their way to be extra nice and kind to others!

Submitted by: Fran, 7th
While my students are arriving and I’m doing attendance, I have them do an activity called QQF. At the beginning of school, I have them purchase a 70 count notebook. Each morning when they arrive I already have on the board a question (Q), a quote (Q), and a fact (F). They have to write this in their QQF notebook. They have until the next day to answer the question. They can use any resource they need in the classroom to look up the answer. I try to have each part relate to something we are studying in class or simply relate to each other. On test day, which is usually Friday, they must have memorized one quote out of the four that I have given them for the week. The quote is given as extra credit on my daily credits sheet. At the end of the six weeks, all those extra credits are averaged in with their grade. The question is checked the next day for the correct answer and it is handles the same way for points. Neither is counted against the student, but just gives them extra points to help their average. This activity takes about 10 minutes each morning, including checking the previous day’s answers. The students love doing this exercise because it gives them a way to get points. Also, they don’t realize they are learning in a different way and it keeps them under control while I’m doing attendance or other required early morning duties.

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