December 17, 2011 by k. liz
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. So, as an added bonus today, you get one of the best renditions of the “12 Days of Christmas” that I have ever heard. Enjoy!
Now, on to the post . . .
8 Time Fillers
Do you ever have those few minutes left in class and don’t want to let your students out early, but don’t know what else to do? Or, in my case, I’m often waiting for a teacher to come or another class to start and if I don’t have an activity, I will lose all control of my kids. These are really simple ideas, and maybe things that you are already doing, but it is just helpful to have them in your mind to pull out when that time comes!
1. Pictionary: I do this all the time with my Kindergartners. I usually put five check boxes on the board and give them a check mark every time that they get one right. Then, I start drawing little by little. They absolutely love it, and it is good for reinforcing their vocabulary.
2. Charades: I use this one with my kindergartners too. Sometimes they are not so sure about how to act out some of the words I give them, but they generally do pretty well and this gives me the opportunity to gauge them both by their acting and guessing abilities.
3. Hangman: This is for higher level classes (preferably ones that can read and write!) I did this a lot last year and used a question or a phrase that would lead into discussion or review something we had already studied.
4. Brainstorming: I loved playing this last year! I would divide the board into three sections, choose three teams, and then give them a topic and have them come up with as many words as possible. I then go over all of the words and let the students decide whether or not a word fits the category.
5. 20 Questions: I haven’t actually used this game with a class yet, but I have seen it done very effectively. When I observed a teacher using this game, he kept it very fast paced and fun, and yet focused on grammar forms as well by putting things up on the board as people asked questions or made sentences. Plus, it helps them practice collocations!
6. Pass-the-Paper: I usually do this with pictures, but if you are doing it on the spur of the moment, you can do it with sentences. Have one piece of paper for every pair of students in your room (you can do groups of three if you need to.) Write a sentence, question, or word at the top of the paper, give the students about 30 seconds to write everything that they think of in relation to what is written, then pass all of the papers. By the time you finish, you will have everybody’s ideas on the paper, and it will provide you with a good sense of what the students think about a topic. I like to use this to introduce vocabulary words. I give pictures and see if the students already think of the words that I am presenting that day.
7. Write a Quiz: Get your students to review the lesson or a topic that you’ve covered by having them write a short 5-question quiz. If you have time, they can exchange quizzes and take them, or you can take them back to your office, compile a bigger quiz, revise any problems, and give it the next day.
8. Let them teach: This is good for a short time. Choose a student (maybe keep a rotation in your notebook so that everyone does it at some point during the semester.) When you finish the lesson early, pull a topic out and give the student 3-4 minutes to teach that topic. The first time you do this, give some guidelines. Maybe tell them that they need to ask 3 questions and write 2 sentences, or brainstorm some ideas about the topic and write 5 vocabulary words on the board. Whatever it is, make sure that it is achievable at their level in the time frame. Let your more confident students go first, and then work your way down. This is good practice for making the students think through what they are learning and realize that they can do something to help their classmates.
A similar idea to number 8, though without the teaching is just to have students take out a piece of paper and review what they learned for the day. It can be a “ticket-out-the-door” assignment. You can use similar guidelines: 5 vocabulary words and 2 sentences, or write any questions that you still have about the lesson and two things you learned. This is good for recapping and reinforcing, and gives you a glimpse at where your students are.