Choosing the Best Bell Ringer Journal for Your Students



Hi teachers!!! I've been wanting to write this blog post for a LONG time, but I'm finally doing it (cheers)! In this blog post, I will help you choose the best bell ringer journal for your class.  Whether you're a primary education teacher or secondary teacher, I have a bell ringer journal just for you.

What is a bell ringer journal?
A bell ringer journal is a resource that contains 275+ journal prompts that will last the ENTIRE school year.  That's right-- you'll never have to think of a bell ringer prompt again.  WHEW! These prompts are engaging and innovative, but most importantly, they help strengthen students' reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.

What are the benefits of a bell ringer journal? 
There are SO many positive components to implementing a bell ringer journal in your daily routine.

  1. You'll develop a ROUTINE with your students.  Imagine this: you walk into your classroom after greeting each of your students at the door and every. single. student. is working diligently on their bell ringer prompt for the day.  It's a classroom management miracle. 
  2. Once you give students their journal, you don't have to worry about displaying it on the board, coming up with a new prompt each day, or making sure you have a new prompt for each prep.  You simply establish a routine with your students so they know that as soon as they enter the classroom, they work on a prompt.  
  3. It takes 5-7 minutes per class period and students are working on reading, writing, critical thinking, and content related skills the entire time.  That's 1,375 minutes in a school year that they'll be developing their skills without even realizing it!
  4. ORGANIZATION.  If you're an organized freak like me, you'll love this because of the tabs and cover pages that keep students focused.  If you aren't as organized, but want less chaos in your life/classroom, this journal will help you achieve this.  

I'M A MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER.
I have the most options for middle and high school teachers.  Check them out below:
English Lang. Arts VOLUME ONE: 
This is my very first bell ringer journal ever created.  It focuses on open-ended prompts that can ultimately be answered by any subject area.  This version helps students think critically and creatively.  Choose this option if you're looking for great classroom discussions!

English Lang. Arts VOLUME TWO: 
This version is best for ELA teachers who wish to strengthen their students' English related skills.  Each day is of the week is broken up into a different section: famous inspiration, word of the week, figurative language, creative writing, and critical thinking.

English Lang. Arts VOLUME THREE: 
This is probably the most focused bell ringer journal.  It's organized by the Common Core State Standards and each day of the week has a different focus: reading literature, informational text, writing, speaking & listening, or language.  Students will gain the most content-related knowledge from this bell ringer journal.

Growth Mindset Bell Ringer Journal: 
This bell ringer journal works with ANY subject area.  It's focused on growth mindset, career readiness, and goal setting! Each day of the week is broken up into these sections: mindset vocabulary, career readiness, famous inspiration, critical thinking, and photo response.  This journal is great for teachers who want their students to practice writing goals and focusing on their future.

Content Related Journals:
You don't teach ELA? That's okay! I have the following bell ringer journals just for you:

I TEACH UPPER ELEMENTARY (3-6).
I have three (3) options for upper elementary teachers:
This journal is very similar in content to the secondary volume one, but with more simplistic questions. You have will great discussions with these open-ended, critical thinking prompts that help students think outside the box.  

This is one of my all time favorite bell ringer journals.  It's based on the Common Core State Standards and has completely different prompts than any other journal.  The days of the week are broken into different categories: reading literature, informational text, writing, speaking & listening, and language.  You'll see SO much improvement in your students' reading and writing skills as they complete the prompts throughout the year. 

This journal also has completely different prompts than any of my other journals.  If you want your students to exercise growth mindset on a daily basis, this is the journal to go with!  Your students will become stronger, kinder individuals and they truly think deeply about all of the different prompts available in this journal.  

I TEACH PRIMARY (1-2). 
I like to describe the primary bell ringer journal as a "morning work" journal, because that's what most primary teachers are accustomed to calling it!  Students will work on a variety of different skills in this bell ringer journal that Jessica Tobin and I designed together.  You'll be able to see so much growth as your students gain more skills throughout the year.  It will blow your mind! 


NEED TO SAVE ON PRINTING?
If you're looking for a money-saving option, I've designed a digital version AND a presentation version (sold separately), so that you can either have students answer the prompts on the computer, completely paperless, OR display the prompts on a white board and have students answer the questions on their own paper.  The prompts are still the same, the delivery avenue is just slightly different!

How do I print my journals? I use an HP instant ink printer... which means unlimited printing for $10 a month! It. is. incredible! Ask your local rep at Office Max or Staples and they'll gladly point you in the right direction!

How do I bind my journals? I purchased a TruBind coil machine off Amazon Prime and it has been AMAZING! I takes about 20 seconds to bind a journal and it saves a ton of money in the long run.  If you don't want to purchase a machine, office supply stores will bind things for you fairly inexpensively! #doit

Thank you so much for reading this post and I hope it helps you choose the best bell ringer journal for you and your students!
All the best,
Brittany Wheaton
The SuperHERO Teacher

5 comments

  1. Could you share exactly which binding machine you used for your classroom?

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    1. Hi! I use the TruBind Coil Machine: https://www.amazon.com/TruBind-TB-S20-Spiral-Binding-Machine/dp/B00LNFOHNW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516208021&sr=8-1&keywords=trubind+coil+machine

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  3. Just curious how do you grade these or do you? This has been something I have struggled with every time I use a journal type bell-ringer. It is so hard to grade them or even look them over with 100+ students.

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