Don't Waste a Minute!What do you do with those awkward moments that arise in every teacher’s day, those times between classes or before specials, when there’s no time for a new lesson but plenty of time for kids to act up? Try some mini lessons, quick activities that fill time without wasting it! Included: Dozens of mini lessons to keep kids busy -- and learning -- every minute of the day!
We've all experienced it -- that dreaded gap between classes, lessons, or activities that can quickly lead to chaos. What's a teacher to do?
Education World decided to go to the best source and ask some innovative teachers what they do.
"My favorite fill-in activity is called Who Has It? Who Doesn't?" said Cathy Jimenez, a bilingual teacher in the Escondido (California) Union School District. "This activity helps children develop observational skills and practice categorizing.
"I choose an observable object, such as hair ribbons, a watch, or a white shirt, and say, 'Juan has it. Belen doesn't. Homero has it. Andres doesn't.' When students think they know the answer, they raise their hands and ask, "Is it a watch?" (or a ribbon or whatever object you chose). The student who guesses first is the first to line up for recess, lunch, or wherever we're going," Jimenez told Education World.
"I've used this activity with students up to eighth grade and the kids seem to like it," Jimenez said. "When I do it with lower grades, I have the children who 'have it' line up along one wall and the children who 'don't have it' line up along another wall so they have a better view of one another."
Beverly J. Sandness, an elementary school principal in Minot, North Dakota, told Education World about some of the fill-ins she used while teaching second grade at Northridge Elementary School in Bismarck, North Dakota.
"I used to teach poetry while my students waited in line to enter the gym or music room or to be dismissed," Sandness said. "We also learned lyrics to old songs. By the end of the year, the children knew the songs and poems so well, I could just call out a title and they would respond."
Sandness also suggested these fill-ins:
FOURTEEN 15-MINUTE ACTIVITIES
The following four activities require some advance preparation, but once the materials are created, they can be used over and over again.