Home Back to School “This, Not That” Bellringers

“This, Not That” Bellringers

by Peggy Reimers

BIG news! Edition 4 of my “This, Not That” bellringer puzzles is now released, just in time for back to school. One change for these bellringers is the format from Google’s Jamboard, which is ending soon, to Google Slides or Canva Presentations. I’ve changed all previous bellringer puzzles to those formats as ell.

How Does a “This, Not That” Puzzle Work? 


Think of the “This, Not That” bellringers as a mind-challenge puzzle. Each puzzle gives you five statements, and the goal is to figure out a commonality from the five statements. The words after thebut not” part of the statements sometimes help with the solutions. But sometimes, they are just distractions to the thought process. My “This, Not That” puzzles usually follow two lines of solutions: shared features or attributes of the items in the statements or shared features or attributes of the words in the statements. 

Here is the thinking strategy of the shared features of the five items. Let’s look at the first example, Emily:

  1. She likes minutes, not hours. (What is the difference between these two units of time?)
  2. She likes the Seven Dwarves, but not Snow White. (What is a noticeable difference between Snow and a dwarf?)
  3. She likes poems, not novels (How are poems different from a novel?)
  4. She likes power naps, not dusk-to-dawn sleep. (How is a nap different than a night’s sleep?)
  5. She likes skirts, not jeans. (Picture a skirt and jeans in your mind.)

If your reasoning led you to believe she likes things that are short, you nailed this bellringer!

Here is a solution involving commonalities among the words themselves. For example, let’s take look at the second example, Miguel:

  1. He likes juggling at the circus, not the plate spinning.
  2. He likes eggplant, not zucchini.
  3. He doesn’t mind driving in foggy conditions, but not snowstorms.
  4. He likes Reggae music, not Country-Western.
  5. He likes blogging, not writing newsletters.

What do you notice about the words “juggling,” “eggplant,” “foggy,” “Reggae,” and “blogging?” When you are working with your students, remind them to write down the main words to see if any commonalities appear. And the answer is: If your analysis led you to conclude that Miguel likes words containing a double “g,” you hit the bullseye!

Sometimes these bellringer puzzles can be a little tricky. So if you do not have time to figure out the answers, email me at preimers@tcea.org, and I’ll send them to you. Please include your school information in the email signature.

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