Thinking in the Abstract
Builds creativity and cooperation skills
Divide students into groups of four. Give each group a sheet of paper; give each student a different colored marker. The group will have four minutes to create an abstract design. Say "start" to signal the first student to start drawing. After one minute, say "time" and tell the first student to pass the design to someone else in the group. Repeat until students have a finished creation to display.
Guess the Gadget
Builds following directions and descriptive writing skills
Organize students into small groups. Provide each group with a piece of paper that has written on it the name of a common gadget or utensil found in the home. (Examples: blender, CD player, electric can opener.) Give each group five minutes to write clear directions on how to use the item without mentioning what that item is. When time is up, call on one person in the group to read the directions. Can the other groups guess the gadget from the directions?
Revising Nursery Rhymes
Builds vocabulary (synonym and antonym) skills
Provide each student, pair of students, or small group of students with a copy of a familiar short nursery rhyme in which specific words are underlined. Challenge students to think of or use a dictionary to find a synonym or an antonym for each underlined word. Students rewrite their nursery rhymes, using the new words, then share their revised rhymes with the class. Time limit: five minutes. Give a prize for the most creative rhyme!
Resource: The Mother Goose Pages
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.
Answers: train, bicycle, ambulance, and snowmobile are all forms of transportation