"Some painters transfer the Sun into a yellow spot; others transfer a yellow spot into the Sun."
ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN
Go Towards the Light
There are many times in the teacher's day, between classes or before specials, when there’s no time for a new lesson but lots of time to fill in. Try a few short lessons, quick activities that fill time without wasting it!
Teach poetry while students wait in line.
Prepare enough index cards for each member of the class. Write the full name of a state on the first card and the abbreviation of that state on the next card, and so on. Place a card face down on each student's desk. Then tell the students to turn over their cards. Give students one minute to find the person who has the state name or abbreviation that goes with the card they hold.
Match states with their capital cities.
Brainstorm ideas for class projects.
Practice math facts or spelling words.
Ask each student to name three things he or she learned that day.
Ask a student to name a noun that begins with D. Have the next student name a noun beginning with H, and so on.
Ask students to name all the "red" words they can think of.
Start students with a noun. Example: house They write that word at the top of a sheet of paper. Say "Go!" and students will extend their list by writing a noun that begins with the last letter of the noun before it. The activity continues. The person with the longest list of nouns at the end of four minutes is the winner.Students might keep a "What I Learned Today" journal.
Use a standard set of bingo cards for this activity. Instead of calling out numbers, call out math problems that equal those numbers. For example: If you are to call out N-32, call instead 8 X 4, 16 + 16, or 45 - 13. Students must do the math before they mark their cards. Be sure to check the winner's card. The bingo format can be adapted to almost any topic of study.
Challenge teams of students to identify the state (s) from the clues you give. For example: This is the largest state. (Alaska) It is known as the "Evergreen State." (Washington) These four states meet in one corner. (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah) This state has more than 11,000 lakes. (Minnesota) It produces more than half the pineapples grown in the United States. (Hawaii) It is the "Gem State." (Idaho) The lowest point in the United States is found in this state. (California).
Write a letter of the alphabet on each of 30 index cards. Randomly distribute a card to each student. Give students one minute to write on the card a verb that begins with the letter on the card. Then students tell their verb words. Students pass their cards to the next student, who has a minute to write a different verb for the letter. When students are stumped or write words that are not verbs, they must leave the game.
Organize students into small groups. Provide each group with a piece of paper that has written on it the name of a common gadget or utensil found in the home. (Examples: blender, CD player, electric can opener.) Give each group five minutes to write clear directions on how to use the item without mentioning what that item is. When time is up, call on one person in the group to read the directions. Can the other groups guess the object?
This activity works well for individual students, pairs of students, or small groups. Give each student or group an index card with the name of a common object written on it. (Examples: helicopter, alligator, toilet paper, sweater, fishing pole.) Challenge the student(s) to create a slogan for the object on the card. Students can vote for their favorite slogans.
Cut out words from the headlines in newspapers and magazines. Mix them up.
Divide the class into small groups. Distribute the same number of words to each
group. Give students two minutes to create as many sentences as possible from
their pile of words. Students should record sentences
as they go so they can reuse the words.
Create addition and subtraction problems using ZIP codes. The two-factor ZIP codes should result in an answer that is another ZIP code. For example: 60601 (Chicago, Illinois) + 10469 (Bronx, New York) = 71070. Challenge students to calculate the answers and use a ZIP code directory to determine the name of the place that corresponds to the answer.
Students create a multiplication or division problem and have a classmate call out the answer.
Complete an open ended story.
Look at a picture and write about it.
Describe an interesting experience you've had.
Create a new animal, using parts from many other animals.