The First Two Steps to Ensure a Successful Lesson

The bell rings and students are beginning to filter into your classroom.  As a teacher you need to grab their attention and refocus it from  previous classes and what just happened in the hall, on to your subject.  This is often a daunting task and one that can seem impossible at times.  I have found two strategies that have been quite effective in getting students focused and  ready to learn in class.

Step one: “Baiting the Hook”

First have a learning target on the board everyday for them to read.  How often as a teacher do you hear, “What are we going to do today?” or my favorite,  “Are we doing anything in class today?”  After you have trained them to look at the whiteboard for the learning target they will form a habit of look for and reading the learning target each day.  This will start to refocus the students on your subject and topic of the day.  I tell my kids to help me out and remind me if the learning target is not on the whiteboard.

Step Two: Reeling Them In

The next thing is to captivate their attention.  This can be done through many different types of bell-ringing activities.  One of my favorites is to use a movie clip to get them talking about the topic of the day.  This catches their attention and ca be very effective in engaging your students.  A couple of great sites to use are MOVIECLIPS ( and AnyClip (  These sites give you short clips on many different subjects from modern films that always get the kids excited and engaged.  There are many different types of bell ringer activities here below are some links to a few lists of activities that have been useful to me in the past.  Doing these two steps at the beginning of each class is an effective way to refocus your students and get them learning in your classroom.

Here is a list of some ideas for bell ringer activities:

  1. —Political Cartoons
  2. Historical and Current —Video Clips —
  3. Online —Games and Activities —
  4. Art and Images
  5. —Pre-assessment & Review —
  6. This Day in History —
  7. Short Readings

Other Links I have found useful:

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  1. […] The First Two Steps to Ensure a Successful Lesson […]

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