Looking for ideas for quick games and activities to break up a long class period
I am a brand new teacher at a smallish middle school charter school. This semester I am assigned to teach two electives: Humanities and Debate, and Sociology and Philosophy, to grades 6, 7 and 8 (6 classes in all on an A day, B day schedule). I am trying to write my own curriculum and learn how to teach effectively at the same time without much support. It's a bit challenging!
I learned over the last semester that the class length is a bit long to keep the kids attention all the way through (1 hour and 10 minutes), so I try to break it up in the middle with some kind of activity that gets them moving and having fun. For example, recently during a class on character traits I had them play a line game where two lines of students raced to get in order by birthday, shoe size, first initial, etc. Having the movement break really helps them focus better through the end of class.
I could use more ideas for games and quick activities like these that work in a classroom. I bought a book of teen games, but it was more oriented toward youth group kind of activities, and I don't have a lot of open space, nor do I want them to get too crazy. Does anyone have any ideas that could help me?
There are a few games you could use that can be related back to the curriculum, but still break up the time. Snowball is a game where students create a venn diagram (or whatever kind of note sharing you want to do), and students must write on a given topic for 1 minute or whatever time frame you set. At the end of the minute, you yell "Snowball" and students ball up their paper and throw it across the room. Students then pick up a sheet of paper off the floor (usually not their own) and add to the notes for another minute. Snowball again. You can do this 3, 4, 5 times, whatever works, and at the end, create a good copy for notes.
The other games are scattergories with a topic from the class you are teaching, give a letter and students must write as many words as they can think of that start with that letter related to the curriculum topic. Finally, students can create a word worm, where you give a word, and the next word must start with the last letter of the previous word. For example dog - gnat - tiger - rooster...You get the idea.
Hope that helps.
You could play Card Yahtzee. Every student gets one playing card and have to form groups of five with the other students to create the best hand of 5. They have to be in groups of five even if they only have a pair in that group. Groups can have: A pair, 2 pairs, three of a kind, A full house, A straight, or four of a kind. It gets them moving around and communicating with each other.
Try " Brain Breaks".The teacher who wrote this neat little flip book(available on amazon) was generous enough to also film some of these activities and put them on you tube. My HS students love them and it really helps keep their attention.
Try Celebrities. Divide the class into 3 or 4 groups, each group selects a leader and each leader gets a list of names of celebrities. Then, the leaders provide 3 or 4 words that describe each celebrity and the other group members must guess who that is. I never tried it but it seems simple and fun.
Scavenger hunts are always great fun but they are time consuming and take place outside the classroom.
If you need some quiet time, and something relevant to your subject area , you can find video clips on United Streaming, run by Discovery Channel. If I am talking about Newton's 3 Laws of Motion, I can show a short clip about each of the laws, to break up the lecture. There is a treasure trove of videos, video clips, worksheets, etc. that match up with virtually ANY subject area and they are all available to school teachers. My favorites are Jeff Corwin's adventure series.
Snowball = Loud?
Thanks for this idea! I have thin walls; in respect for my neighbor, I should ask you how loud this gets. Or do you have a trick for containing the enthusiasm?
Originally Posted by Clearly Canadian
Make a rule that they can not talk....if they do, there is a penalty like they must sit quietly at their desk and take notes completely on their own with their textbook. (Yuck!!) Most will try hard to be quiet!
Originally Posted by bruinette