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The Ultimate List of Secondary Art Room Bell Ringers

If you teach at the secondary level, you know the problems “passing time” can cause for classroom management. Sure, it’s great for a quick bathroom trip or coffee refill, but issues can arise as students trickle in over the course of five or ten minutes. Classroom management can become off kilter before class officially begins.

bellringer question

One way to ensure a smooth start to class is through the use of bell ringers.

Bell ringers are short activities used at the beginning of class to get students thinking critically and creatively. They engage early arrivers from the moment they step through the door and help transition pokey students quickly.

Bell ringers can be designed and administered in many ways. For example, you could try starting class with a question or having students work on an ongoing side project as soon as they arrive. However you approach them, bell ringers are key to getting students involved and engaged right off the bat.

As you consider ways to incorporate bell ringers into your secondary art room, take a look at the extensive list of ideas below.

We’ve put together five thematic lists for you to tweak and adapt to fit your needs.

These include reflection questions, brainstorming prompts, philosophical discussion starters, art history trivia, and technique and vocabulary questions. Download them all below!


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You could use a different theme for each day of the week or simply pick and choose what works best for your students according to their ages and abilities.

If the art history, technique, or vocabulary questions are too tricky, let students use classroom tablets or their own devices to research the answers. They’ll be more likely to remember the information if they look it up themselves!

As you use these questions, think about crafting more of your own. You might want to keep a running list in your planner as you introduce new techniques, methods, or artistic styles.

What have you found to be the best way to start a secondary art class off on the right foot? 

How do you incorporate bell ringers in your art room?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors from across the nation and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University or any of its academic offerings.

Tracy Hare


Tracy is a middle school art teacher from central MN who strives to deepen students' 21st-Century skills by encouraging them to practice critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.