Got Five Minutes Before the Bell Rings?
Maximize your instructional time by using those small blocks of “extra” time to review content, reflect, or work on critical thinking skills, in a fun, easy way.
- Keep a list of vocabulary words and definitions on hand
- Review 4-6 words each time, choose randomly from list
- Ask for group response, or have students share answer with neighbor
- Give definition and ask for word, give word and ask for definition, or give definition and multiple choice options for words
- Use words from your current unit of study
- Use words from a master list of subject-area words for the year; include words that you’ve already covered as a class as well as words the students will come across later in the year – begin to develop connections to prior knowledge
- Use vocabulary words from your state assessment (the words used on the tests – How do they compare with the words you’re using in class?)
- Ask questions from your textbook or from previous years’ tests
- Ask questions from previous materials, ie. the test from an earlier unit
- Name 3-4 people, words, events for students to sequence (chronologically, by impact, alphabetically, etc.)
- Name 3 people, words, or things. Ask students to name what the three things have in common (ie. Presidents of the U.S., chemical formulas, zoo animals, etc.)
- Use flash cards to review visual symbols, including:
- Sight words, digraphs, blends
- Meanings of symbols, such as country flags or chemical elements
- Abbreviations, such as U.S. postal codes
- Geometric shapes
- Journal prompt for creative writing (general topic or content-related)
- Journaling: Thoughts on issue or debate topic brought up during unit
- Reflection Tools:
- Don’t want to have to print off copies?
- Draw basic tool on board; have students make their own on scrap paper
- Have students respond orally, share responses with a partner
- Hand out index cards; collect as students walk out the door (“Ticket to the Hall”)
- Ideas for Reflective Response:
- Describe one thing you’ve learned
- List three people (ideas, events, facts) that you learned
- Name one thing that was new to you
- What’s one thing that surprised you?
- What do you wonder about?
- Write a question that you have about what we read today
- What’s one thing you hope to learn more about?
- What person (idea, event, etc.) are you most interested in
- Ask questions from cards from board games, such as Trivial Pursuit or Tri-Bond for Kids
- Line Up (whole group get-up-and-interact activity)
- Give the students directions for arranging themselves in a line (at the front of the room, at the door, etc.)
- To make it more challenging, have students form the line without talking
- Alphabetical by first or last name
- Age or date of birth
- Height, shoe size, or length of hair
- Time you woke up this morning- Who is…? (Small group interaction activity)
- Ask a question that requires students to compare and contrast. Students decide in their team, at their table, or in a small group which student has the characteristic that answers the question. Use to identify one student to perform a task.
- Who went to bed earliest last night?
- Who has the longest thumb?
- Who had the biggest breakfast?
- Whose birthday is closest to today?
- Who most recently ate pizza
- Rebus Puzzles (Image that represents and word or phrase)
- NIEHS Kids’ Pages – Rebus Puzzles
- Fun-with-Words Puzzles – Hink-Picks (Rhyming word puzzles)
- “Hink Pinks” and other Word Play – Education World- Anagrams (Word or phrase rearranged to make a different word or phrase)
- “Everyday Vocabulary Anagrams” – Range of difficulty
- “Anagram Site” – Organized by theme
- Brain Teasers
More Ideas: “Don’t Waste a Minute” – “Education World” article
Five Minute Activities