ALL GRADE LEVELS
*Riddles and Brain Teasers*
It is great to have an assortment of riddles, word or number problems, and brain teasers on hand that you can give to the class. You can use these during snack time to keep everyone quietly seated, during small breaks during the day, and even at the end of the day to wind down. You can also write some on the board (more difficult ones) at the beginning of the day, and let the students know that they can think about them throughout the day, and the first to come up with the correct answer will get a prize.
This is great game to purchase so that you can use the cards for a game in class. You can also make your own homemade Pictionary cards. Split the class into teams (boys vs. girls, one side of the class vs. the other) and have them compete in a game, using the chalk board to draw on. Rewards and prizes can be used. This can get noisy to make the appropriate noise level very clear before beginning.
*Draw a Picture On The Board*
Draw a simple picture on the board (a square, a circile, a straight line). Tell students to come up one at a time and add something small to the picture to make it into a different object (ex. add a roof to a square to make a house). Each student coming up should add something different to make it into a completely different object (ex. to the house, someone could add a line at the bottom to make it into a spinning top).
*Extra Work Sheets*
Have puzzles, colouring sheets, word searches, cross words and find the hidden picture sheets available for students to do when they finish their assigned work.
*Check For Computer Lab Time*
The computer lab is usually booked solid throught the week as each class will have its own designated times. If you have a period that you don't know what to do with, you could check to see if the regularly scheduled class will indeed be using their scheduled computer time. Just because a class is scheduled, doesn't mean they will always use that time. Often teachers will have something else they are in the middle of, and will not take advantage of their computer time every week. You can always ask!
*Create a Scavenger Hunt*
Take a few minutes during recess or prep time to create a scavenger hunt that students can do around the classroom, our outside of the school if the weather is nice. These are always a big hit and can be very easy to create. They can contain instructions like "Find the word "scruples" in the dictionary and write down its' meaning", or "Find an article of clothing or a play thing left by someone on the playground".
There are great classroom friendly BINGO sets you can buy out there, but you can also very easily make your own versatile BINGO sheets to carry around. They should be blank BINGO cards that can be filled in by the student. Chose math equations or vocabulary words. For French or Spanish, have a list of words and their English translation on a sheet of paper and have them pick and choose which words to fill in each box with. They can use their pencils to mark the corner of the boxes if there are not any options for BINGO chips nearby.
*Higher or Lower*
A great and easy game that involves math, and works best with late primary and junior grade levels. Tell the class you are going to think of a number between 1 and 100, and their job is the figure out what that number is. They take turns guessing numbers, and you tell them whether your number is higher or lower than the number they guess. You keep going until they have figured out the number. Tell them the goal is to see if they can get the number in under 6 (or pick an appropriate number) of guesses. If using a classroom management strategy that involves points, you can also use this opportunity to give them points if they can figure out the number in under a certain amount of guessing.
*Show and Tell*
For the younger grades, this is always a hit. Chose a few students to go up and share a story with the class, or show off something they are wearing or brought with them that day. They really enjoy this, and it can be pretty amusing at times!
*Always Have BOOKS!*
For the primary grades, bringing a selection of books with you is a must! Usually classrooms have a selection of books in them already, but it may be hard to find something they haven't read yet as a class, especially if it close to the end of the year. By bringing 3 or 4 of your own books, you can usually be certain that you'll have something new to read to them. Reading is a book is a great time filler, the kids love it, and it is educational!
*I Am Going On a Picnic...*
You tell the class that you are going on a picnic and you are bringing a... (chose something that begins with the first letter of your name, but don't tell them this is what you are doing. For example, someone named Sarah might bring Sandwiches). Tell the class that you would like them to come on the picnic, but they can only come if they bring the right thing. Let them ask if they can bring this and that, and tell them that there is a secret trick/pattern to the game that they need to figure out. For example, if Freddy asks if he can come and bring Oranges, you say "Sorry, but no". However, if Jennifer asks if she can bring Jellybeans, you would say "Why yes you can come and bring Jellybeans, Jennifer". Keep going in this manor until someone many people are coming on the picnic, and people are starting to figure it out. You can switch up the game by then making it so that people can bring things in alphabetical order, or only things in one particular food group, etc.
*Bang, Bang, Bang...Who Is Dead?*
A game with a trick to it that the students need to figure out. The teacher says "bang bang bang...who's dead?" and the students guess each time who the teacher killed. The trick is that it is the first person who talks following the bang bang bang that is dead each time, but it takes a while for the students to pick up on this. Keep playing and letting students guess until someone figures out the trick.
*Play Favourite Classroom Games*
Play Heads up Seven up, Duck Duck Goose, or other games that the class enjoys playing to fill in extra time. If it something that the class already knows and enjoys, they are likely to participate fully and have fun without getting disruptive.
*Who Is Missing?*
One student is "it" and they must hide their eyes of leave the room. The class silently then picks another student to hide, somewhere out of view. When that student has hidden, the person who is "it" has to look around the room and figure out who is missing. This game works best when the class is sitting on a carpet, or when people are allowed to switch seats. That way, the person who is "it" can't just look at the empty desk to see who is missing.
*Super Silent Seat Ball*
Students beg to play this game! Students all sit on their desks and they gently toss a soft ball around the classroom. If someone talks, they are out and must sit down in their chairs. If someone misses the ball or makes a bad toss, they are also out and must sit down.
*Math Flash Card Competition*
You can buy flashcards with math equations on them, or you can make your own using cue cards. Use the cards to quiz the students and give them points. You can split them into teams and have one student from each team attempt to answer the question before the other team for a point. Or, you can have the whole class get into a line. When they get to the front of the line they have to answer a question, and then go to the back of the line. Time how long it takes to get through the whole pack or cards, and then try to beat the time.
*Write a Letter To Their Teacher*
This works especially well if the teacher is ill. Have the students write their regular homeroom teacher a letter about how they miss them, and what they have been up to today or since they have been gone. They really enjoy doing this!
Brain Quest(R) makes some amazing trivia card decks for different grade levels and different subjects. The Canadian Trivia deck is a favourite. If there is extra time to fill, divide the class into teams and have them compete against each other to answer trivia questions. Record points. Often, the game is enough fun for the them, but prizes and rewards can be used.
*Interesting Facts About Yourself...*
A fun game to play with late junior and intermediate grade levels. Give each student a piece of paper and tell them to write down something about themselves that most people may not know. Tell them it needs to be appropriate for the classroom, of course. Take the pieces of paper and put them all into a bin. Have students get out a pencil and a blank piece of paper. Tell them that you will read the stories one by one, without divulging the names, they are to write down who they think wrote each one. Compare what the class thought to the actual answers for each one at the end. This can be lots of fun, but it really depends on the class. If the class is very challenging and one that tends to get inappropriate, it may not be the best option for them.
*Paper Airplane Competition*
This game is good if the class has a lot of energy, and so do you! Have the students get into pairs and make a paper airplane. Once they are finished, have them line up. Each group has to answer a question (math, trivia, anything), and if they answer it correctly, they get to fly their plane. Give them points depending on how fair it goes.
*Taboo! With a Twist*
Split the class into two teams. Have one member from each team come up to the board and face out towards the classroom. Then, draw a different picture behind each of them on the board behind them. Then, when you say "Go!", each team has to try and explain to their team mate what is on the board without using the actual word. For example, if the drawing is a flower, you might say things like "It grows in the ground. It smells pretty. People give them to others on special occasions". This game can be made easy or more difficult.
*Two Truths and a Lie*
Students each come up with two interesting truths about themselves, and a believable lie. One student at a time tells all three stories, and the other students try and guess which one was the lie. Students can vote on which one they believe to be the lie using a show of hands. Remind students that the stories must be classroom appropriate. Can be used just for fun, or points can be given. Each student gives themselves a point each time they guess the right story to be the lie.