The Critical Five Minutes of Class

“You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This often quoted truth is so common, in fact, that its origin is unclear. Some attribute it to Oscar Wilde, others to William Safire. Regardless, it’s certainly not a hotly debated issue. In general, people understand the importance of first impressions. In his article “How Many Seconds to a First Impression?” which was posted in The Association for Psychological Science, Eric Wargo writes about how–whether fair or not, we are all judged by a number of things: our appearance, how we dress, our age, etc. The part that stinks is that most of these judgements are upon things over which we have no control! As educators, we have the responsibility to focus on those things we CAN control. The first day of school is perhaps the most notable occasion we have to strike a positive first impression with our students, but fortunately, we have a new opportunity every day we see our students to impress them–or not.

The first five minutes of class each day will set the tone for the next fifty. Teachers need a few minutes to gather thoughts and resources between classes, take attendance and just simply RESET.


I recently walked into our library, where our Media Specialist Danielle Wishka (@daniwishtweets) had this image on display at the mediascape. She had a fun song playing and I couldn’t help but noticed that all the students were typing away on their laptops as they rocked out to the song. At the end of the song–less than 5 minutes into class, the students were fully prepared for class. No prompting, nagging, or redirecting was necessary.

There are MANY ideas out there for these “bell ringer” activities. Here are a couple of links to some excellent blog posts with many ideas:

Find a few activities you like and try something new! Have other ideas? Please add them to the comments below!

Kelley Briceno, Tech Coach



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