Have you ever taught a lesson that didn’t go according to plan? I’m sure you have …
“My wall clock stopped and I lost all concept of time! I nearly sent my class home ten minutes early!”
Have you ever misread your watch or classroom wall clock and finished your lesson off too early? I know I have. We all know, that great teaching occasionally, requires, time-filler ideas for lessons which finish a wee-bit early!
This can be simply down to a lapse in concentration or a break in routine such as a timetable change; a collapsed-timetable due to external events, such as a snow-day or an early closure for open evenings and so on. Whatever it is, there are various reasons that can cause a slight distraction of thought. So, with ‘possible chaos’ in mind, and before you discover that you’ve released 20-30 students out into the corridors, consider how to avoid that grumpy senior leader marching up to your classroom door …
Here are some ideas for use with any class and any subject. This list is endless!
5-minute time-filler strategies:
- Discuss a topic from today’s news.
- If you were Prime Minister, what would you do?
- If you were Headteacher, what would you keep in this school? Get rid of?
- And your specialist subject is?
- Make the teacher say yes or no.
- The more unusual the idea, the better …
- The flying-aeroplane technique: Stand two groups on opposite sides of the classroom; each group writes down on the model-plane, ‘what they have learnt today.’ Then ask students to throw the paper-planes to the other team. The other team catches, opens and reads the plane, then flies it back! Chaos, but a real attention-grabber!
- Recap on the learning. Create a quick keyword spelling test or a subject quiz.
- Provide references for the next lesson. As a group, students form their own lessons objectives for the next lesson. This must include an extended learning objective with challenge.
- Discussion: what will you be studying next week? Next term? Next year?
- Closed questions (sometimes silly; agree or disagree; yes or no.) get pupils to move to areas of the classroom.
During a lesson, if you ever release students too early, take note of your timings and pace. Create your own list of last-minute time-filler activities so you can pull ideas out of the hat to suit the context of the class. This will prepare you for all those (future) dizzy moments!
Have a few ideas of your own? Please write them down in the comments below for everyone else to read.