Did your carefully planned lesson take less time than anticipated and you now have some time to spare that you want to use in a productive manner? Or – have you been asked to cover a class and you can’t find the lesson plans left by the teacher? If so, some of these ideas might be of use to you.
When I have some time at the end of the day, I play IT CAN BE with my class. A child holds up an addition sum and the class has to give the problem. For example, if the card says 17, someone called on might say 9 + 8. If the flashcard says 8 + 9, the child holding the card would say, IT COULD BE BUT IT’S NOT. If the child says 9 + 8, the child holding the card would say, IT COULD BE AND IT IS. The children have to give the problem exactly as it’s written on the card. If a child gives a completely incorrect answer such as 9 + 6, the response is, IT COULDN’T BE. The child that answers correctly gets to be the next one to hold up the flashcard. This game is a great activity for enhancing math thinking skills.”
A great way doing creative writing painlessly is continuing chain stories. If you have access to the Internet, you can find the beginnings of stories on http://www.beaumont-publishing.com/efl/chainstories.htm
I have found that it is a tremendous motivation for students to be able to continue stories using their imagination and that their efforts will be published on the web. And the fact that they can add a part to any version you want, not necessarily to the last part, means that they have the power to change the way a story is going if they don’t like what has been added previously.
You don’t have to be online to do these. It’s enough to get online, print out the stories and have the students work on their versions in class. They can do this individually or can work in groups, with you giving help where needed. With my lower level students, we work in groups so that we can work on grammar, spelling and style. You only need to get online again to submit the completed parts/versions. They love seeing their efforts on the web a day later.
This fun activity works with any grade level that can spell. Ask for volunteers and create a team of 3-5 players. These students come to the front of the room. The rest of the class thinks of a word for the team to spell. It can be any word that is difficult, or you can limit it to a vocabulary word from a certain unit or topic they are studying. The catch with the spelling is that each team member can only give ONE letter. The team must then use the word in a sentence, with each team member again only giving one word. It is a hoot. You can keep score if you wish, pitting teams against each other, or just use it as a review activity. The teacher serves as the referee, and the ref’s decisions are FINAL.
Make sure your students have access to several copies of USA maps (or other countries, depending on the grade level), with the states or nations clearly delineated. Before school begins, or during a prep period, draw a map of the US (or other county), with state outlines, on the chalkboard. The map should be about 4′ wide, or at least big enough so that the students can write the state names inside each state (draw lines out for the small states).
Divide class into study groups of 4-5 kids each. Hand each group an atlas/US map or geography textbook and ask them to study the state/country names/locations. Explain that they will play a game that has elements of chance and of skill, and that the team that knows where the most states are has a good chance of winning. While they are studying the maps, write down each team, with their individual names, on a slip of paper to be drawn from a basket.
When it’s time to play, you select the first team from the basket. One person from that team goes to the board and fill in ONE state name. If they are correct, they get a point. If not, no point. Either way, that team pulls the next paper from the basket (which includes their own slip, too). Next team fills in a state. Same thing, until ten states are filled in correctly. The random element is good, because the game might be dull at the beginning otherwise. It also varies the odds of winning, and keeps the kids on their toes.
The second set of ten states are worth TWO points each. The third set of states are worth THREE points each. And so on, up to five points.
They have over 1500 free worksheets and are adding more every week. It is http://web.archive.org/web/20010106230700/http://www.freeworksheets.com/
Pick a Number
1.) Ask the class to take out a piece of paper.
2.) Tell them to pick a number between 1-10 and to write it on their paper and to cover their papers because you don’t want to know what the number is.
3.) So that you can talk about their numbers you are going to assign it the letter value Z. Write Z on the board.
4.) Observe that their can be 10 different Z’s in the room, one for every number from 1-10. Someone has probably chosen 3, 5, and 9. But so you can talk about the everyone’s number, your letting Z stand for everyone’s number.
5.) Tell the class to add nine to their Z.
6.) Next have them subtract, let’s say… 5
7.) Continue with addition or subtraction combinations for at least three or four more numbers. For example; add 7, subtract 8, and add 4.
8.) You should be writing the individual steps as they occur on the board. z 9 +9 -5 -5 4 +7 +7 -8 11 +4 -8 3 +4 7
9.) Finally, have them subtract the original number they choose, their Z. Wait a sufficient amount of time, and then ask, “how many came up with seven.”
10). Now the kids think you performed magic and want to know how you did it.
***See if they can figure it out. Repeat several times! The Secret Add and subtract the numbers between the Z’s. The number they pick (z) is cancelled out at the end when you ask for subtraction in the last step. Try this several times before giving it to a class!!
A Subs Version of Pictionary
Write words related to the unit or subject on slips of paper and place them in a baggies. divide the class into two groups, and allow one student from Group 1 to come up. Hand him/her a slip of the pre-made ideas on it. Then have he/she go to the board and try to draw it. Allow either group to guess what their classmate is drawing.
Where Have You Gone Vowel?
1.) Write several short vowel words on the board. Omit the vowels.
2.) Ask the class to think of vowels that would make the word complete.
3.) Have student volunteers come to the board to make the word complete.
Place – Value Scramble
1.) Write three #’s on the board.
2.) Ask students to rearrange the numerals to make the lowest possible number, the highest possible number, a number with the largest number in the tens place, and other, similar placements.
3.) Complete the activity by asking students to help you in arranging the resulting numbers in order.
1.) Write the weekly spelling words or words from the unit in random order on the chalk board and tell the class to study the words carefully for one minute.
2.) Tell the students to put their heads down – no looking!
3.) Erase one of the words and rewrite it – this time spell it wrong.
4.) As the class has their heads down say, “Oh my, something looks wrong – all spelling detectives raise your heads and see if you can tell me what word is not spelled correctly.”
5.) After 30 seconds, call on a volunteer to tell you the word and how it should be spelled. If the child answers correctly reward the class a point. If the child does not answer correctly, identify the word and give yourself 1 point.
6.) Repeat Steps.