Nearly every day a teacher has a few minutes "wait time" — not enough time to start something new, but too many minutes to do nothing (other than watch helplessly as the kids go bonkers). Here, on the first day of each month, I will describe a time filler that my former students liked to do, as well as some I heard about from teachers throughout the country. Nearly all of these time fillers can be adjusted to fit the interests and capabilities of your grade level.
I love getting new time fillers that I can pass on to others. If you have a time-filler that your students enjoy, please use the Contact button at the top of this page and tell me about it. And finally, let me know if I have permission to publish your name. I like to give credit where credit is due, but that choice is yours.
No matter what grade you teach, you most likely have a list of vocabulary your students need to learn. When that is the case, a few minutes of wait time is a great opportunity for either of these two vocabulary revision activities.
Have your current vocabulary list written on index cards that you can use at a moment's notice. Then, when you have a few minutes, have one student come up to the board and select one of the vocabulary words. Set a timer for between one and three minutes, depending on how difficult you want to make the activity, and allow him to draw pictures to try to get the class to guess the word. His classmates can call out their guesses while he draws. He is not allowed to use any letters, numbers or symbols as he draws. If his classmates correctly guess the word, you can either give another person a turn or have him select a second word.
Variation: Use words from the Word Wall for your "bank."
The second vocabulary revision activity is similar to the one above. You can play a few rounds of charades with your students in a similar manner to the Pictionary activity. Use the same vocabulary cards, but have your student or students act out the vocabulary word rather than draw it. Either you can have one person act out the word for the entire class, or have two people act out the word for one half of the class. As is traditional with charades, the actor cannot say anything. The first group to guess the word wins a point. Be sure to switch up your teams each time you play.