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5-Minute Fillers: Sequencing, Math Skills, and More

Volume 3

Order! Order!
Builds following-directions skills

Place a slip of paper on each student's desk. That slip should have written on it a single direction from a sequence of four to five directions. (Examples: Directions for making chocolate chip cookies, playing baseball, or driving from school to the library.) Give students five minutes to find the classmates who have the other parts that complete their set of directions. Then the classmates stand and read aloud their set of directions in the correct sequence.

Story Ball
Builds storytelling, sequencing skills

Tell students they will create a story in five minutes. Provide the opening sentence of the story. Toss a ball to a student. That student must say the next sentence. Then the student tosses the ball to a classmate. Continue until time is up.

Extension: Audiotape the activity and transcribe the tape. Have each student copy his or her sentence onto a piece of drawing paper and illustrate the sentence. Compile the sentences to form a book for the classroom library.

Math Fact Match-Up
Builds math facts or computation skills

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 change one thing about yourself? What would you change? Why?

Here's a quick math facts review that gets students out of their seats. Gather index cards to match the number of students in the class. Write a number problem (for example, 5 + 4 or 9 x 3) on half of the cards. Write the answers to those problems on the other set. Put one card facedown on each student's desk. Direct students to turn their cards over. Give students one minute to find the classmate who holds the matching number problem or answer.

Note: Of course, each solution card should be different from all theo other solution cards.

Variation: For older students, make the math problems more challenging.

More 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.

Answers: trout, catfish, dolphin, and flounder are all fish