Tag Archives: classroom activities

Activating Activities: Students "zoning out"? Need to pump up the volume in the class? (Activities)

Pump Up the Volume

Students “zoning out”? Need to pump up the volume in class? Here are some ideas for short classroom breaks:

I work my students hard. I demand a lot from them — I ask for their very best. I am firm but fair. We are busy!
But no matter how intelligent and entertaining (hahahahahaha) I try to be, my students and I (!!!) invariably do at times during the week run out of steam at times and need a little pick me up.

When this happens I turn to two bowls in my classroom filled with little pieces of paper. They are our “GO TO” bowls and the students love them. One is labeled “Seatwork-out”  and the other “Get Moving”.
I choose one student to go to one of the bowls and draw a “ticket”. On the ticket is the name of a game that we can play as a class for 10 minutes – & they really help us to perk up!

I find that after moving about and sharing a giggle or two our attention has improved and the quality of my “teaching time” is better. It’s also a great opportunity to continue to build our classroom community, and gives me an opportunity to see how my students interact with one another.

If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see two bowls in my room containing the following activating activities to enjoy!


GO TO Bowls:

(A) Seatwork-Out:

  • Chain Spelling (Teacher says a word; the next person names a word the begins with the last letter of the previous word
  • Broken Telephone
  • Eye-Spy
  •  Memory Games (e.g. show a number if items on the Smart Board for 15 seconds – remove the pictures – see how many items students can recall)
  • Chair Aerobics (e.g. http://bit.ly/dSl0IX)
  • Brain Gym (e.g. http://bit.ly/dyzWUa  http://bit.ly/IMU4o)
  • Mirror-Mirror  In pairs face a partner: one child mirrors the other child’s movements – he/she is the mirror 
  • 20 Questions
  • Letter – Give the students a letter and provide them with one rubber chicken (for example). Students must pass the chicken around the room. Each time a student has the chicken he/she must say the name of a word the begins with said letter … within 10 seconds.
  • Letter-Letter – Teacher writes a letter on the board – students are given 20 seconds to record as many words as they can that begin with that letter (individually or in pairs) Boggle – write radon letters or a word on the board – how many words are students able to make from the letters?
  • Secret Letter – In small groups students come up with 3 or 4 questions to ask the class. Students take turns answering the questions without using the letter “S” (for example)
  • Hangman – play using current classroom concepts & vocabulary
  • Pictionary
  • Sparkle

(B) Get Moving:

  • Two rounds of  Classroom Charades
  • Simon Says
  • Over/Under Relay – use a student’s soft pencil box, a tennis ball, etc.
  • Seven-up-Stand Up / Heads Up-Seven Up
  • Hot Potato 
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Trash-ketball- Crumple up paper (from the blue bin) to use as a basketball. Use a garbage pail as the net.
  • Freeze – Play a song: everyone dances & freezes when the music stops.
  • Snow Ball Fight – My kids love(!) this one. Students record some
  • facts about themselves on a piece of paper (e.g. favorite color, animal, number of siblings, etc.). They crumple up the papers & at the count of three they throw the paper balls around the room for one minute (like snowballs in a snowball fight). At the teacher’s signal students stop the “fight”, grab a piece of paper & take turns guessing who created the snowball(s).
  • Flight Master – Make a paper plane quickly at home, during lunch, just before recess, etc. (use recycling paper).  Students keep them in their desks until later. When we seem to be “fading” we take them out and see whose flies the furthest.
  • Musical Chairs