You all have a ton of downtime in your classroom, right? Ok, yes I’m kidding. I know we don’t have any downtime in our classrooms. There’s always so much to do and standards to meet! However, there are times when we have five or so minutes before lunch or recess. In those moments, there’s not enough time to start something completely new, but we don’t want to just sit there and let chaos reign! I have three engaging activities for students that take about five minutes and hit what I like to call the four C’s: communication, critical thinking, creativity, and cross-curricular.
Engage Students with Poetry Power
Poetry Power is a simple and easy engaging activity for students that they can get into quickly because you use a simple haiku. Once your students get the idea of what a haiku is, it gets incredibly easy. I like to use these as a bellringer, an exit ticket, or right before lunch because Poetry Power doesn’t take too long to get through.
How to Use Poetry Power
We know that haiku is a three line poem and each line has so many syllables. You’re going to write a concept that they just learned on the board or display it in some way. Then your students are going to write a haiku about it. This hits the four C’s because students will communicate their poems by sharing them by random draw. They critically think to get all of their ideas in a few syllables. It’s cross curricular because you are asking them to share something they learned in another class, and of course it is creative because of the particular syllable.
This is a low prep activity for you because you don’t even have to have it planned out. If you get done a little early, you slap an idea on the board and tell them to get writing! I like this as a bellringer as well because as students are coming in they know exactly what to do. Plus, this is a great way to get your poetry standard in without having to spend a ton of time on it.
Informational Improv Engages Students
Engaging activities for students are also great for table groups or if you have students working in small groups. First, you want to call on three or four random students. I usually ask for volunteers first, but that’s completely up to you. What they are going to do is act out one thing they learned in class that day. This is similar to the Crazy Professor game, which is a super fun reading game, but with any subject.
How does Engaging Activity Work?
After they come to the front of the room as a table group or a randomly selected group, you want to give them 30 seconds to plan out what they are doing. Then, you are going to say “Act.” They have one minute to act before you say “Freeze!” All of the actors will freeze and you’re going to ask the rest of the class if they think this could be done better, the same exact topic that was already chosen. You’re going to pick another table group or three students to come up and act out the same thing. As the teacher, you’re never saying who is doing it better. Let the students decide! A big bonus is as each group comes up, more information is being reviewed.
Get Loud with Content Crescendo
This is a very similar engaging activity for students as informational improv except students are going to sing it which is always super fun for them! What you’re going to do is take a passage from something you might have been reading in your literacy centers or reading groups or you can pick a vocabulary word or concept they have learned.
They are going to start talking or singing at a very low level. Then as the topic gets more in depth, they are going to keep singing it louder and louder.
Getting the most singers!
Like informational improv, I ask other groups to come up and share, but I don’t ask who is doing it better. Instead, I really hype them up and tell them how awesome they were! When the other students come up after the first group, I don’t make them sing about the same topic because sometimes they will just keep repeating. Instead, it’s just something they learned. With this activity, you’re going to see what each student learned from your lesson and if they really got the main point.
All of these games are great for hitting those four C’s. Plus, they help hit some of those standards that are difficult to hit like public speaking.
These engaging activities for students are all easy prep and can be used no matter what grade you teach! Most importantly, these engaging activities will create a fun classroom environment where learning is still the super star. When students are having fun, learning is solidified. Therefore, having fun is something we always want to strive for in our classroom. Don’t forget to join my VIP Club for exclusive freebies and great tips and tricks to make your classroom run smoothly!
Until Next Time…
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