5 mins to go


5 mins to go

All of these instructional strategies should be employed when you have additional time after a class and need to fill it. I like to ask the students to respond to a simple question about the information presented or the concepts covered in the lesson with 5 minutes left in class. They are given a compact form with the proper graphic on it. The title can be, “AHA,” “I Still Don’t Understand It,” or “The Most Important Thing I Learned Today,” OR it might be a response to one of the 10 to 15 questions I project on an overhead. On their walk out the door, they must hand me a written copy of their response. Whenever something factual is required (usually basic questions) Before they go, the response has to be accurate. In that scenario, they can pick a different query. They may depart as soon as they give in their paper if the response is only an impression or a query. The next day, I utilize the papers as feedback and may even pick any from them to use as a pool of “volunteers” or to call on students for a review. The pupils like to leave class on a positive note. In gauging my effectiveness with the students on a particular subject, I find the feedback to be essential. I like the foundation for evaluating the next day. The kids love “Feedback!” “A excellent method to wrap up a class is with journal writing. It helps the children stay on task and gives them a chance to communicate their ideas in a positive way. Always give them a focus question or a topic linked to the lesson’s objectives that you want them to think about and record in their journals. In this situation, you should also review their diaries to see if they are learning the material you intended them to.”

Have Games Available Jennifer, Primary Grade Teacher: Tallahassee, FL

“Journal writing is a great way to close a lesson. It keeps the kids focused and provides an opportunity for them to express their thoughts in a constructive way. You should always give them a focus question or something you want them to reflect on and write about in their journal related to what you expected them to learn. In this case, you should also check their journals to see if they are on track with what you wanted them to learn.”

Make a List to Reinforce Learning Roberta, 3rd Grade Teacher: Syracuse, NY

“Use the last five minutes of a lesson to get your students to tell you what they learned as a result of the lesson. A large chart in front of the room is a great way to poll students’ responses so that all can benefit. Students can copy what you write on the chart during free time or while you are recording the responses. You can leave the chart up for the remainder of the day, or tear off the sheet and tape it somewhere in the classroom for students to access during the day. It also serves as a great reminder. You can then save it and refer to it during the review. This is also can be done with a PowerPoint presentation if you have technology available.”

“All Tied Up!” Jimmy Fischer, Elementary Specialist: Idaho

This activity requires a large ball of string. Have the students sit in a circle and emphasize that they must remain in their seats (for safety reasons). The game starts with a child or the teacher saying the name of someone else in the circle and holding on to the end of the string while throwing the ball to the person they named. The receiver calls out the name of another child and keeps hold of his or her end of the string while throwing the ball of string onto the named child. As this continues a tangled web begins to be formed by the crossing of strings. When the web is completed the group has to undo the web by calling names and throwing the ball of string which is rewound by the receiver before sending it on.

Provide an Outline After Each Lesson Ann, 6th Grade Teacher/Special Ed: Los Angeles, CA

“Give your students an outline of everything that you expected them to get from your lesson during the last five minutes of the lesson. Go over the outline with the students and ask them if there are any questions that they may have. Leave a line for them to write in a question that they may have or ask the teacher assistant to help where needed. Collect the questions and tell the students that you will address the questions the next day or when you return to that lesson.”

Always Have a Good Book Handy Diane, 3rd Grade Teacher: New York City

“Have a book to read from when you find that you have “5 minutes left to go.” Choose a book that you know will be interesting to your students and is related to what they are learning. Tell them that you will be reading five minutes from this book when you have any time left…be it at dismissal, before lunch, transition time before specials start, or any free time that is available. It tends to calm students down before they are on the move. It is also a good way to develop listening skills and appreciation for story time.”

Optical Illusions Save The Day! Charlie Rose, 5th-grade teacher: Boise, Idaho

“Every year I buy a deck of cards called “Optical Illusions” from my neighborhood teacher supply store. I find this very handy to teach children about perspective. No matter what subject you teach, we are all trying to help kids look at things differently. Let’s say I’m teaching a Social Studies lesson about a battle or conflict of some kind. At the end of the lesson, I’ll pass around my optical Illusion cards. I’ll then ask the students what they saw. Because they are optical illusions, it is rare that everyone will see the same thing. Again great from a teaching perspective. It saved me during an observation once, but I guess that’s another war story.”

Who Wants To Be A Dollarnaire? Tracy Peters, 7th Grade English Teacher: West Field, New Jersey

“This idea cost me about 35 dollars a year, but I have actually worked it into my supply budget for next year. We all know Regis and his famous nightly game show. I decided to use the same game for 5-10 minutes at the end of the third day of class. I randomly choose one child who answers a series of 10 questions. Of course, all of the questions are content based from class material and they increase in difficulty. I also allow them to phone a teacher (my Principal allowed it due to the success of the game), give them a 50:50 option, and allow them to poll the classroom. This is also great if you finish early on any day. The dollar values are increments of 10 cents with safeties of 25 cents, 50 cents, and 75 cents. The dollar is the ultimate prize. I have to admit you wouldn’t think that a dollar could entice anyone, but then again I work with twelve-year-olds.”

“Silent Ball” Mary, 2nd Grade Teacher: Michigan

“When faced with 5 minutes before or after an activity/event, try this! Using a couch ball, or something similar, the students arranged in a circle or by their desks, and toss the ball to another student. The student must catch the ball, then throw it to someone else within 3 seconds. Students must alternate players to ensure everyone gets a turn. If a student drops the ball, something is said, or they take more than 3 seconds to toss, they are disqualified. The last 3 people remaining at the end of the designated time, collect a prize. Students self-monitor the game. Variations can be incorporated, such as 1 hand catch, under a throw, behind the back throw.”

“Thumbs Up!” Sonya, 5th Grade Teacher: Nevada

“Choose two students to stand up and have all the other students put their heads down on their desks with their eyes closed and a thumb sticking up. The two left standing must then move around the desks and gently touch just one person each on the thumb. All students are then to open their eyes. The two students who had their thumbs touched must then guess who touched their thumb. If they get it right the children swap places if not the children have to go again. This game is great to use for settling a class down after a busy day and it improves their listening skills.”

“Object Of The Week” Kim Newiles, Chester Mills Middle Schoo

“I found a great way to help students critically think and expand their view of their world. I present students with a unique object each week. The object should be something that students see every day but usually take for granted. For example, the last object I used was a steering wheel. Each day of the week, I take five minutes to discuss the object with students. Most topics of conversation include inventors, materials used, modern uses, how the object works in concert with other parts, what can be done to make it better, and what the future holds for the object. The concept of this procedure is very simple, but it opens students’ minds to higher levels of thinking. Over the last four years, we have had some great discussions. I always look forward to talking about the future of the object. Students always hold theories I would never think of. It’s a very engaging activity for both students and teachers.”

“Super Story” Kyle Newing: Grade 5-6 Teacher

“If I find that I finish a lesson quicker than I planned, I always do a Super Story with my students. It is a simple activity. I present my teacher’s pen to students. The double-sided red-blue pen. Children love just to hold the pen. I write a single sentence on the board to start the super story. I then pass the pen and the Super Story paper to a student. This student must now add two sentences to the super story. When they are finished, they pass the pen and paper to another student. This student must first read the entire story to the class from the beginning. After reading, the student must also add two sentences. We continue this throughout the entire class. Once every student writes, we finish the story as a class. I find the best way is to have students brainstorm and then vote on the ending.”

“Do Now!” Charlotte Babishkin, Middle-Level Teacher

This was my second year teaching. One technique that really improved my classroom management and overall success with my students was the use of a daily “Do Now!” activity. I have 6 classes throughout an average school daily. Our periods are 45 minutes in length. During my first year of teaching, I had a lot of trouble getting the students settled and focused. This process would take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. On the advice of a senior colleague, I started using “Do Now!” activities. I write a quick assignment on the board that requires 5 minutes of my student’s time. The assignment reviews the past day’s lesson. This technique turned 5 wasted minutes into an engaging activity. It also helps me assess the students on a daily basis. I highly recommend it!

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