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Activity and strategy

Bellringers: A Warm-Up Activity for Braille Students

These warm-up questions are a great activity to promote braille literacy skills.

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

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


  • 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.
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