Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Bellringers: A Warm-Up Activity for Braille Students

Bellringer questions with question marks

This warm-up activitiy is a way to help students learn to ask thought-provoking questions.

Materials: 

  • braille writer or slate/stylus
  • paper
  • previous knowledge

Procedure: 

  • Given a variety of topics, such as school subjects, nature, games, sports, movies, foods, etc., students create one question per topic. They must have five topic choices.
  • They advance three lines between each one, because I am going to cut them apart.
  • I then emboss a copy with the students' questions on them.
  • Each day, the students will read a different bellringer, which they will discuss and then braille their own responses.
  • Once completed with the bellringer of the day, they put a separation line.
  • Students learn the different ways to ask a question and also learn to develop higher-order thinking skills in the process.
  • The teacher (me) reads the bellringer, checking the braille, and sometimes the peers check each other's braille, too.
  • I have a daily helper and that person is the one who reads the bellringer. 
  • I give 10 points per bellringer’s answer. I don’t care what the answers are (unless they are supposed to relate to a factual question), but they have to refer to the subject and I count off for format and braille boo-boos. 1 point off for each. So in one bellringer, a student can get anywhere from a 5-10.  If more than five errors, I just stop at 5. Each day we address the errors made and their goal is to avoid that mistake with next braille.

 

Example from St. Patrick's Day:

Here are sample questions on the theme of St. Patrick’s Day that students thought up and we discussed how to put them in proper question format.  
 
 

St. Patrick's-themed questions in braille

 

Sample Questions for St. Patrick's Day Bellringer:

  • Monday:  If the 4-leaf clover is said to bring good luck, what does the 3-leaf clover bring?
  • Tuesday:  What if there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, what difference would it make?
  • Wednesday:  What did you think St. Patrick's job was?

 

Sample Answers:

  • Some answers for #1: “A three-leaf clover would not be worth much.” “Three times the luck!”
  • #2: “It’s not going to make any difference if there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because you can’t reach it anyway.” Another wrote: “ It would make a whole lot of difference if a pot of gold is in a rainbow, if I found it, I would be rich.”
  • #3: “St. Patrick was a preacher.”  Another: “ St. Patrick was a farmer.” Answer: “I don’t know what St. Patrick did, but he must have known a lot of people.”

High school students wrote these questions, but a teacher can get so many great questions from all ages and they really like to try to answer questions that their peers wrote.

 

Variations: 

  • Students with low vision who print can practice their braille or if not a braille user, he/she can dictate to a braille user. 
  • If it's in large print, I have the braille copy and if it's in braille, the large print is on the back of the slip of paper.

Collage for bellringers

Comments

Bellringers

Posted by Cindy Mock

What an excellent idea! I can also use this idea to reinforce topics in the regular ed classroom's reading assignments. I've also been using the ASK! magazine by Cricket group for my elementary students. The magazines have a monthly theme and this idea would work because we could read an article to find answers. Thank you, Anna!

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