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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

What to Do With That Awkward 5 or 10 Minutes of Class You Have Left

Last week in a Grade 8 class, I found the students getting the "back to school - start up your class" activities in far less time than anticipated. I used to teach summer camp and I was a youth worker AND I have been in a variety of classes of various grade levels over the past nine years. I have a very large 'bag of tricks' and don't mind filling 5-10 minute 'gaps' with activities, but sometimes I want to try new ideas and I know some teachers, especially new teachers and new TTOCs, aren't always sure how to fill these blocks of time.

When I started teaching I did my "short practicum" with a middle school teacher who called these activities "SPONGE" activities. There is debate over using these "time fillers" but I feel if they are educational, or serve a purpose (getting to know your classmates, team building, academic, etc.) then go for it.

Here are some ideas from WE ARE TEACHERS blog:

1) Show your students one of these videos and relate it back to your lesson/content somehow.

VideoDescriptionPossible way of relating back to lesson/topic
The Awareness TestA fun test of student's awarenessThe importance of paying attention
Kid President's Pep Talk to Teachers and StudentsA young man's heartwarming pep talkThe power of positivity/goal-setting
Zombie Kid Likes TurtlesA reporter asks a boy a question, and ... well, you'll just have to watch it.The importance of staying on-topic 
The Power of WordsA short (fictional) interaction between a homeless man and a woman who understands the power of wordsThe power of words
Kseniya Simonova - Sand AnimationSimonova uses sand as a storytelling medium. Amazing! The power of visuals

Eric Whitacre: A Virtual Choir 2,000 Voices Strong
Whitacre creates a virtual choir with 2,000 submitted videos The limitlessness of creativity 

**I haven't watched these videos all yet, as always  -  a teacher should fully view any video before showing it to a class!!!

2. Play Trashketball
3. Play Reviewsical Chairs
4. Write down as many ### as you can (animals, provinces, states, vegetables, etc.)
5. Hold a limmerick contest

6) Create fun structured conversations. Give the whole class a sentence stem that they have to fill in themselves, and then make them go find at least 10 different partners to practice it with. The repetition of both speaking and listening will help cement it in their brains, and the not-sitting-in-their-chairs will make it fun. 
  • "One thing I will remember to tell my future grandchildren about differential equations is _____"
  • "I shall uphold the honor of my English teacher, Ms./Mr. _____ and never mix up 'you're' and 'your.' I will remember the difference by _____."
  • "I'm going to go straight home and tell everyone on Facebook how the most important thing I learned about cells is ____."
  • "If I made a modern-day movie about the Shakespeare play we read today, I would cast _____ as _______ because they are both ______."

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