Losing 5 minutes of instructional time a day over a 180 day school year will result in a loss 900 minutes or 15 hours. The precious minutes at the beginning and end of class add up! Sometimes your great lesson ends a few minutes before the end of the hour. This blog post gives you ideas for ways to make those moments count.
- Play a quick review game. Trashketball requires no prep. It can be played in a variety of ways. Create your own rules or find published rules by clicking here. Another easy, no prep game is classroom baseball. Click here for instructions. Be sure to have clear instructions (the bases might be the 4 corners of the room–split room in two teams quickly (left side and right side of room, front and back, whatever works for your group). Don’t waste a lot of time getting things going.
- Vocabulary activities can be short and meaningful. Select a student to go to the whiteboard. Whisper or write a vocabulary term you are currently studying or have studied in the past. Student draws and others guess.
- Try a podcast or video. Flocabulary, Ted Talks, Brainpop, StudyJAM (math and science), Bill Nye (science), Edpuzzle–pick your favorite and bookmark them for a day you need it!
- Whiteboard ABC review. The teacher gives a topic you are currently studied or have studied in the past. Divide students into two groups. Give one student in each group a dry erase marker. Teams try to brainstorm a word starting each letter of the alphabet. First student runs to the board and writes a word, then gives the dry erase marker to the next person on their team. Team with the most words at the end of the given time will be the winner. (Even something simple like getting to be the first to leave today seems to be enough motivation).
- Have students complete Exit Slips. These give teachers valuable information and allow students to reflect on what they have learned. I just cut paper into fourths and had a stack ready to go. I would orally ask questions such as
- List 3 things you remember from the lesson today and put a * by the most important one.
- List something you are not sure about, need help with, or would like to have explained a different way.
- I found it interesting that ___________.
- Rate your understanding of the lesson today. 1=HELP and 5=I could teach this to someone. Rate your effort. How well were the objectives of today reached? What was the objective?
- Write a test question that could be used over today’s lesson.
- How could the lesson today help you in the future?
- Write a summary of the lesson today using no more than 25 words.
- What would you change about class today? What should stay the same for teaching this concept to other students?
6. Ask trivia questions. These can help your students develop important background information. I kept Brain Quest cards in my desk. Here are some online sources for trivia questions.
7. Play 20 questions. 20 Questions helps students with questioning strategies and thinking skills. I have used the online game free from the internet. We played as a whole class. As students caught began to understand the game, I would give a word to a student and have the other students try to guess. This makes it easy to incorporate terms/concepts/literary elements/characters you have studied in your class.
8. Relationship building and public speaking. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 73% of people have anxiety about public speaking. Giving your students an opportunity to speak to the group in the safety of your classroom while talking about something they are comfortable talking about helps with the language arts objectives of public speaking and the important development of relationships in the class. Ask students to come up and talk about their experiences.
- ____________ come and tell us about the football game yesterday.
- ____________ could you tell us about the horse show you participated in last weekend.
- ____________ tell the class about the book you are reading.
- ____________ what is your dream vacation?
- ____________ what is your favorite book/TV show/movie and why?