How to Use NoRedInk to Begin and End Your ELA Classroom Routine

Student using NoRedInk to practice writing on a laptop

NoRedInk’s writing activities and grammar exercises help you engage students at the beginning of class and assess learning at the end of class.

Bell-to-bell learning is more important than ever in our current landscape, but making the most of instructional time can be an uphill battle without a clear plan in place. Many teachers establish consistent classroom routines, like bell-ringers and exit tickets, to reclaim valuable instructional minutes that can easily slip away in the hubbub of transition times.

However, coming up with bell-ringer and exit ticket ideas day after day can be time-consuming and exhausting. Fortunately, NoRedInk’s writing activities, grammar exercises, and assessment tools are designed to integrate seamlessly with the routines you’re already using to kick off and conclude your classes.

Spark engagement at the start of class

Whether you’re catching students at the start of the day, right after lunch, or five minutes after a tough math test, they often need a little nudge to get into the right headspace for ELA. Having a meaningful assignment planned for the beginning of each class not only prepares students to learn, but creates valuable opportunities for collaboration and low-stakes writing practice.

Here are a few popular NoRedInk activities that teachers often incorporate at the beginning of a class period:

  • Bell-ringer Quick Writes: NoRedInk’s bell-ringer questions ask students to tap into their prior knowledge, reflect on their learning, and set learning goals. This type of metacognitive reflection helps students build confidence as writers and take ownership of their own learning.
  • Just for Fun Quick Writes: From having students consider hypothetical scenarios to having them write with creative constraints, Just for Fun Quick Writes provide highly engaging ways to build writing stamina. Many of these writing activities for students are Picture Prompts, which use images to inspire ideas.
  • Novel Analysis Quick Writes: If you’re teaching a novel, a chapter-based Novel Analysis Quick Write is a great way to kick off a discussion about the previous night’s reading.
  • Collaborative inquiry: Projecting a Practice question on the board is a streamlined way to lead a collaborative, inquiry-based introduction to a topic. This type of interactive grammar activity helps students build key writing skills and become stronger critical thinkers simultaneously.

After completing their bell-ringer activities, many teachers use NoRedInk’s pre-teaching resources as a jumping-off point for direct instruction. These writing resources for teachers help promote consistency throughout a classroom routine.

Assess learning at the end of class

It’s always helpful to formatively assess students’ learning after they’ve completed in-class practice, worked on an essay, or read and analyzed a new text. Taking this kind of snapshot as a class period winds down gives you information you can use to determine your next steps and helps students solidify their own understanding.

Here are several ways teachers use NoRedInk to support their closure routines:

  • Exit Ticket Quick Writes: Much like our bell-ringer questions, NoRedInk’s exit ticket questions provide students with opportunities to recap what they’ve learned, share what they’re still struggling to grasp, and even give feedback to themselves.
  • Skill-building Quick Writes: Skill-building Quick Writes enable you to formatively assess student mastery of a variety of writing skills, from deploying commonly confused words to building strong arguments.
  • Five-question Quiz: Assigning a short, ungraded Quiz to check for understanding after students work on a new skill is another way to use an exit ticket for formative assessment. To tie together the beginning and end of your classroom routine, consider reviewing commonly missed questions as part of the next day’s bell-ringer activity.

Incorporate NoRedInk throughout your classroom routine

In addition to ample options for bell-ringers and exit tickets, NoRedInk’s comprehensive online writing curriculum provides pre-teaching resources, writing and grammar activities, and progress monitoring tools for every step of the learning process.

Sign up for free today to start developing stronger writers in your classroom!

Before joining NoRedInk, Ray taught middle and high school English in Philadelphia, Austin, and most recently Richmond, Virginia, where they served as a teacher-leader at the campus and district levels. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, Ray studied creative writing and ethnomusicology, and they earned their M.S. Ed. in Secondary Education from the same institution. Ray is a sucker for playful language and delights in students’ brave, inventive rule-bending in writing!