Using Bell-Ringers and Warmups in Grades 3-5

By Kirsten Hammond

Your students are filtering into the classroom, full of energetic chatter from their transition over from the previous block – or even crazier, recess! How do you set the tone and get them focused for some good ol’ learning time?

Why, WARMUPS, of course!

What Are Warmups?

The possibilities are endless! As an ELA and social studies teacher, I incorporated content that is directly related to my curriculum.

The warm-ups are activities that are independently and quietly done as everyone waits for the class to arrive and settle in. They are short, sweet, and are not meant to take longer than 10 minutes to complete.

For example, I would do daily grammar warmups similar to these Daily Grammar Warm-Up Year Round Activities are specifically geared for 3rd4th, and 5th grade. They would do the set of questions provided for the day, and then we would check them as a class.

Why Use Warmups?

Warm-ups are a great way to start the day, or your learning block, before diving into the main content. There are so many great benefits:

  • They help you reset from the previous block.
  • They give you some breathing room to prep anything needed before you start your lesson or activity.
  • Once they become a habit and routine, there’s no more guessing “what are we doing?” when students walk in the room.

How To Use Warmups at the Beginning of a Block

There are several different ways that you can prepare your warm-ups. This is how I did it!

teacher making copy

1. Prepare Materials

  • Individual student warm-up folder, labeled and distributed at the beginning of the year
  • Warm-up activities (see above, or read to the end for links of my favorites to use!)
  • Answer keys

2. Prep Warmups for the Week

  • Make copies of the warm-ups the week before – you’ll need them at the start of Monday!
  • I liked having warm-ups only Monday through Thursday; I didn’t assign warm-ups on Fridays.
  • Make sure the copies are double sided, hole-punched or stapled, and collated so that they can be easily handed out.
  • Students receive their new weekly warm-ups on the first day of that week.
  • Tip: sometimes I’ll put an “X” on the day where we will not be in school before making copies (such as a Monday)
girl working in class

3. Strategies During Warmup

Remember, the purpose of warm-ups is to ease everyone into the learning block. During this time, students will be unpacking and getting settled at their seats. Once they get to their desk, they are expected to work independently on their warm-ups for about 5-10 minutes.

Again, the purpose is for students to work on the activities quietly, so emphasize that they are to try their best and answer the questions on their own.

Sometimes, students may be tempted to wait until we check answers to fill in their warm-up booklets. Surprise, surprise! No big deal – just patiently remind them that they need to be working actively on the warm-ups, as the activities do support the content learning.

When students finish early, they can read a book, or they can work on an early finisher activity that you’ve established for your class.

teacher with class

4. Check as a Class

The resources that I mentioned above all have answer keys, so go ahead and have it with you as you take up answers as a class!

Encourage volunteers to share their answers, and of course gently correct them if their answers are not correct.

Usually, I had my own warm-up copy and would project it to write the answer in for students to see. It helps to give them a visual, as well as having them listen to answers out loud.

5. At the End of the Week

By the last day of the week, I had students turn in their warm-up booklets so that they weren’t accumulating in their warm-up folders all year.

I would check their booklets for completion only without giving a grade, though sometimes I would give a completion grade. Whenever I did this, I would tell students in advance. No nasty surprises!

Our school had school-wide home folders, so the weekly warm-ups were sent home in those folders along with their other papers and things.

Once you have your warm-up system set up, it really is quite seamless and makes each teaching block start off with an extra bit of calm and a little bit less chaos.

If you teach ELA or social studies, I linked my daily warm-ups for grades 3-5 above under “So What Are Warm-Ups?”! They are formatted for 4 days a week, and can be completed in 5-10 minutes a day. For ease of use, I even included the answer keys!

Here they are again for you. Enjoy!

daily grammar

Daily Grammar Warm-Up Year Round Activities for Grade 3

Daily Grammar Warm-Up Year Round Activities for Grade 4

Daily Grammar Warm-Up Year Round Activities for Grade 5

daily social studies passages

Daily Social Studies Comprehension Passages for Grades 3-5 

kirsten hammond

Kirsten is a former 3rd and 5th grade teacher who loves helping upper elementary teachers by creating resources and sharing ideas that are engaging, research-based, and TEKS-aligned. She is a work-from-home mama of 3 rambunctious little ones and loves running, true crime, and lots of coffee.

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