Quick 5 Minute Filler Activities and Games for the Classroom
Five Minute Filler Activities
We all have them ... times in the class when the students are done their work and they are threatening mutiny. An effective teacher has a plan for everything and this includes a repertoire of filler activities for those times.
Here are some quick and fun sponge activities that promote teamwork, quick thinking and creativity, while also keeping order and staving off chaos! All of them are great for all age groups and any subject areas. You can modify as you see fit, for your particular class and use them according to your teaching style.
These three choices are ones that I have used in my classroom several times, with a variety of age groups and found them to be effective. I have also found these are great social skills activities, as well, helping to build a better classroom climate and encouraging students to listen to one another.
This is a simple game where each student is asked to say something nice about the person or two persons on their right, on their left, or behind them, whichever works best for you.
This little activity is good because all of us like it when someone says something good about us. And you have to make the rule that everyone must say something about their assigned person. You may find many students saying something like "nice shirt," but at least it's not an insult!
As a teacher, be sure to participate, too. It is actually good to start the game, so that you can model the compliments for the rest of the class. Students will get better at this when they are exposed to the idea of giving compliments.
Social Skills Activities -- Benefits, Variations, Extensions
Classroom climate, Self-esteem, Teamwork, Creativity, Social Skills
Ask for specific types of compliments, Say something good about yourself
Journal about the experience, Teach Explicit lesson on giving compliments
Classroom climate, Writing Skills, Social Skills, Creativity, Enrichment
Do a quote of the day, Use a quote from your lesson, Write first and then speak, or Speak first and then write
Write an essay from the quote for a longer writing assignment
Classroom climate, Social Skills, Creativity, Sequence, Logic
Allow the words "a, the" to not count, Do one sentence instead of one word, Allow for a "pass" for shy students
The teacher writes down the stories and have students create a longer, written story from it.
Books on More Classroom Activities
Great Places to get Great Quotes Online
Write a quote on the board, and have the students respond to it, either through writing, or by discussion. The great things about quotes is that there is endless variety in the types of quotes, and everyone sees something different from the quote. This is an excellent way to encourage creativity and thinking.
You can use quotes everyday as "quotes of the day," or you can just use it once in a while in order to get a good discussion going. Quotes are also a good way to reinforce the lesson that was learned that day. For example, if you discussed a short story, you could insert a quote from the story, and have students discuss it, and see is they recognize it.
Other sources of quotes are from famous people in history, from celebrities that the students might recognize, from quotation websites or from a book that you are reading yourself.
3. One Word
The activity "one word" is a great way to help students learn about narrative and logical thinking. It is a very simple activity and great for those few extra minutes before class ends. The activity goes like this: each person says one word and the next person adds to it, and son and so on, and it turns into a story. For example, John says "The," and Ashley says "cat," and Pat says "ran."
This is very simple, but it is fun and requires that everyone pay attention, so that they follow the story, and don't say a word that doesn't fit in. The rule is that it has to make sense. The great part about this game is that it really doesn't matter when the bell goes; you just keep it going until the end of the period. Also, if it gets too silly, you can start the game over, and try again.