Rrrrriiiinggg! The bell just rang. Class has started. What now? As a teacher, you know that it can be a bit jolting if you jump right in with a huge dose of academics. Your students learn much better when they start class with something interesting that will get them in the mood to learn. To help, we’ve put together 20 fun bell-ringer activities for all grades and levels that you can do today using your document camera.
- A rocky start. Collect some rocks from around your house or the school yard and zoom in on the rocks to get a closer look. Are they smooth? Volcanic? Full of crystals? What vocabulary words would your students use? Can they see other pictures or images in the close-ups?
- Group draw. Put a white piece of paper with a circle in the middle under the document camera. Then have the kids come up one at a time and add one small line or shape to the drawing. See how your art evolves as more kids add their own creative take.
- Word makers. Put a series of Scrabble tiles under the document camera. Have students take turns creating words or phrases.
- Show and tell. Have kids put their show-and-tell items under the document camera so everyone can get a closer look.
- Dissect something. There are so many things (beyond frogs) that you can dissect for your kids to see. Try a flower, a piece of wood, a carrot, a piece of fruit or even an old cell phone or tablet.
- Dream of Paris. Display with your document camera a photo or map of a favorite city or travel destination. Talk about what you would see if you could visit there, and ask students to share the sights they’d love to visit.
- Zoom in on plants. Show your students some close-up pictures of things like leaves and flowers. Talk about the complexity of the photos and how different the objects look close-up.
- Wax poetic. Post a favorite poem (find some of our favorites here) and discuss the meaning, the cadence and how it makes your students feel.
- Be art historians. Show your students a famous piece of art like a Picasso or a Rembrandt. Discuss what your students like about the painting and what they feel when they look at it.
- Chart your course. Analyze a set of data (such as the hours spent each week on bathroom breaks), and then work with your students to make a pie chart or bar graph to describe the data in a pictorial way.
- Be a world traveler. Borrow an atlas from the library and spend some time zooming in and out on the maps of various places.
- Play a guessing game. Place a strange object under the document camera, or zoom in on a familiar one that you’ve shielded them from seeing. Have them play 20 questions to guess what it is.
- Get musically artistic. Play a favorite song for your students. While they listen, have them doodle on a blank page as they listen, then ask four or five students to share their artwork on the big screen.
- Be sleuths. Post a hidden pictures sheet and see how quickly your students can find all of the hidden images.
- Do origami. Pass out colorful paper, then demonstrate the art of origami under your doc cam. (Bonus: You’ll have some beautiful decorations to hang around your classroom!)
- Get newsworthy. Place a recent news article under your document camera. Have your students read it and then discuss it as a class.
- Take a trip to a museum. Show your students photos of some favorite artifacts, paintings or exhibits from a favorite museum.
- Make a mind map. Write a word or topic on a white sheet of paper. Then, have students come up one at a time and add the first thing that pops into their mind when seeing the word.
- Dig into the data. Share an infographic on a certain relevant topic. Discuss the data and see if your kids want to make some hypotheses to expand their learning.
- Get wordy. Use Wordle to create a word cloud. Put it under the doc cam and have your students write a journal entry using at least five of the words.