Saved by the bell

Bell Work

My sister is a middle school teacher. I am a librarian. We hang out quite a bit, often with one another’s friends, so she hears a lot of library talk and I hear plenty of school talk, too. She thinks the idea of teaching adults is scary (“They don’t listen!”). I think facing one hundred 7th and 8th graders every day is… terrifying.

The other day I overheard her talking to another teacher about “bell work”. I asked what the term referred to and she told me it’s an activity that students begin as they enter the classroom. The idea is to engage them immediately.

I started thinking about training events and how there is that time before the workshop begins… people chat or wander or grab coffee and a cookie if that’s an option. I usually try to plan an icebreaker that gets things warmed up, sets a tone for the training. But I wonder if I could do something with that pre-workshop time. I’m not talking busy work. Something fun. Something relevant. Something that gets the participants thinking about and excited about the topic we’re there to cover. Warm-up for the brain….

Has anyone used “bell work” in their library trainings? I would love to hear your examples!

4 thoughts on “Saved by the bell”

  1. Good thought! Our ref librarians are getting ready for a new series of computer classes this Fall – beyond the usual mousing and basic Internet. I’m doing one on Air Travel, and I bet “bell work” could include listing the steps they would take – offline – in planning a trip, and we would then use that to show how to do it online. Hmm … if we provided a worksheet with a framework, they could be working on it as the rest of the learners arrived and got settled. Mind If I steal the idea?

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