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Any Harry Wong experts out there?

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AmyJ AmyJ is offline
 
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Any Harry Wong experts out there?
Old 07-22-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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Though I've been teaching for several years I haven't read the First Days of School cover to cover until this summer. Wow! I have really enjoyed it and am going to implement some of his suggestions.

Question: They suggest having a piece of "bellwork" ready to go. I have always done this but it is the same thing everyday. We work through a language arts practice book and I give the kids 5 problems each morning then we go over it together. Should the "bellwork" be something DIFFERENT each day?

Any other thoughts on the suggestions of Harry Wong?


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not an expert
Old 07-22-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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I completely agree with "bellwork." I have found that if the students are not accountable for what they do when they first come in, then it doesn't work. For example, begin it, we'll go over it in 10 minutes, type of thing. They will just wait until you go over it. However, if you have them come in, work on it and share with their group what they did, or collect it, something to motivate them to do the work, seems to work better.
I have done both, the same thing everyday or something new each day of the week. Personally, I don't think it really matters, as long as the students have a purpose for doing whatever is asked of them. I hope this makes sense.
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I love Harry Wong
Old 07-22-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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I too finally read the whole book last summer. It is a wonderful book. It has everything a teacher needs in one place! Regarding the bellwork, as long as you have bellwork every morning it doesn't matter if it is different each day.

Let me know some of the things you most liked about his book. I really like how they emphasize teaching procedures to your students. It truly does make a difference.
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Anchor Activities
Old 07-22-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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At the beginning of the school year, I spend several days introducing a few different types of anchor activities. I explain to the kids that these activities will keep them "anchored" to their seats while everyone is arriving and beginning their day (that term seems to stick with them better and, in my opinion, is more "kid-friendly" than bellwork). I have done grammar work/editing of sentences, handwriting practice, journal writing, etc. Of course, we practice how the time for anchor activities looks and sounds, so the kids know exactly what is expected of them. After a few days, they are able to come in and get started without me having to direct them.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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It can be the same thing daily. The point of "bellwork" is that the kids have SOMETHING TO DO when they walk in. They don't come in and look at the teacher waiting for something to do. The kids walk into class and make purposeful, productive use of their time.


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bellwork
Old 07-22-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I absolutely agree with the idea of bellwork. I have found that it gets the kids focused and gives them something to engage in while everyone is settling down and I'm taking attendance, getting ready and stuff to the sort.

At the beginning of the year my bellwork is different. I have two days of non fiction reading that pertains to what we're studying in class. I use shorter paragraphs that the kids read, talk to each other about, then we discuss as a class. Two of the days we play a vocabulary game - this year we're going to do vocab scrabble for 5 mins. Then on Friday their bellwork is their weekly vocab quiz. This is just another procedure that we practice and practice the first few weeks.

The closer it gets towards test time, then each day is practice state test questions.

I don't see it being wrong doing one way or the other. I just think the purpose it to get the kids doing something so they don't have idle hands from the minute they walk into your class.
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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Since my kids went to a special (gym, art - another teacher) 4 times a week 10 min after entering the classroom, my kids did SSR. I wrote a quick note on the board with 1 thing to do, like turn in an assignment or put something on their desk, then SSR. By week 2 - it was fully implemented. I played soft music & it was quiet so I could take attendance. This worked perfect the entire year.
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Bellwork
Old 08-27-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I am using bellwork for the first time this year and was surprised how it allowed me those extra minutes to address attendance and other duties prior to the lesson cycle. My 5th graders were engaged and quiet. Truly amazing! I am using the bellwork to spiral instruction, connect the new instruction and as a pre-assessment for a new objective or concept.
I will be introducing Bellringers, which are TAKS formatted questions next week. Last year we were introduced to Bellringers and our students seem to like the challenge. The bellringers are questions that were taken from previous tests and placed in a powerpoint to practice test-taking strategies.
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