No bells trial update – One week down.

The one week trial of ignoring the bells in our class has concluded, with mixed success. On the first day, the freedom went to their heads and I was really surprised with the lack of maturity and focus on their learning. The lesson was learned by most in time for the second day, but a new problem arose – we were distracting other classes from their work. Following a stern chat from the Principal children lowered the noise level when taking their break during other class’ learning time. Crisis averted!

The rest of the week continued with no restrictions on the lengeth or frequency of breaks children had. As long as they attended group and class meetings, they were free to come and go as they saw fit. It’s been an intriguing experiment!

This afternoon, we reflected on the week. Everyone finished on time and to the required standard but how was their learning effected? The purpose of the trial was to improve their learning capabilities so I asked was their learning improved, the same or worse this week? If it was worse, did they still want to have no bells next week? And, if so, how would they make improvements to ensure their learning was improved by the flexibility of be allowed to ignore the bells? The following are the responses I received:


  • I had too much freedom and didn’t use my time well. Next time I won’t take advantage of all the freedom. I know how to use the time more wisely now – Nathan, Jasmine, Boston, Jack, Margaret and Nicole.
  • I got more tired so next time I’ll take shorter breaks – Isabella.
  • I forgot what I was doing when I returned from a break so I’ll keep working at a task until I’m finished, before I take a break – Louie.
  • All students whose learning was adversely effected – after the initial difficulties, we improved and used the time more wisely later on in the week.


  • The breaks we have are at the right time and are the right length anyway – Angel.
  • I managed my time the same way and as well as usual. I learned everything as well as I normally would – Rikka, Akanshi and Carlos.


  • I became more independent as a result of this – Liam.
  • I was able to limit my break times, I’m not sure we need so many breaks – Erika.
  • I could go outside and clear my mind when the work got tricky – Emily and Jessie.
  • I gave myself a little reward after finishing tricky things – Mia.
  • I stressed out less – India, Dylan and Jessie.
  • I got to exercise more often, which got my brain working better – Chester and Liam.
  • I didn’t get hungry and therefore I concentrated better – Kerry.
  • There was more choice in how I arranged my day. If felt more grown up – Dylan.
  • I managed my time better – Dylan.
  • You could keep going on a task if it was going well – Callum.

End result? It looks like this is the way Room 3 could operate from now on. Exciting stuff!


4 thoughts on “No bells trial update – One week down.

  1. Hi Emma
    It has been great to follow your blog and see what you’re doing with your class. Really interested in the way these students are reflecting on their learning and changing their behaviour accordingly.

  2. Hi Emma
    Your ‘no bells for a week’ sounds really exciting. It can be annoying when you are not far away from finishing an interesting discussion when the thinking is interrupted by the bell. However, can you tell me how you, and your students contend with duties, participation in sports or school groups?

    1. Thank you for the comment Megan. For my class it was more about their perspective on their day to day class experience, and a way they thought they could enhance their learning capabilities. Though having the ability to carry on a conversation will be a happy consequence. As for your question I still basically keep to the bells for duties, having coffee with other teachers at morning tea and so on. The class have a diary that they plan class meetings, group meetings, duties and extra curricular actvities in.

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