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5-Minute Fillers: Compound Words and More

Volume 1

Sticky-Note Compounds
Builds vocabulary, spelling skills

Prepare sticky notes in advance by writing on them the individual words that together form compound words. (For example, write foot on one sticky note and ball on another.) Put one note on each student's desk. As students come into the classroom, challenge them to find a classmate who has a sticky note that when paired with the one on their desk will form a compound word. Set a time limit on the activity.

It Doesn't Add Up
Builds math computation and thinking skills

Provide for students several columns of numbers. A sum appears at the bottom of each column. But the numbers don't add up to the sum. They will add up, however, if one of the numbers is removed. Challenge students to figure out which number in each column does not belong. For example, the number 14 does not belong in this column.

  26
  19
  14
  22
+18
  85

 

Pose the following question to students to start a lively discussion or use is as a prompt for a quick journal-writing activity:

What if you could meet one famous person, either alive or dead? Who would that person be?

Words Up!
Builds spelling skills

Write a long word on the board. Tell students they have 3 minutes to write down as many small words as they can find in that long word. Students can use the letters in any sequence. They might work independently or in pairs. You might allow them to use a dictionary to check their work. For older students, limit words to those with four letters or more or reduce the time allotted to complete the activity.

Anagram Puzzles
Anagrams are a terrific tool for stimulating students to think critically.

Write the four phrases below on a board or chart. The letters in each phrase can be rearranged to spell a word. The words all have something in common. Challenge students to figure out the four words and what the words have in common.
 

Adapt the activity for younger students: To make the activity easier, tell students what the words have in common or arrange students in pairs to solve the anagram puzzles.
  • I PLOT
  • TRAITS
  • DENTS IT
  • RANGER ED

Answers: pilot, artist, dentist, and gardener are all jobs

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