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5-Minute Fillers: Language and Vocabulary

Volume 10

Act the Animal
Builds pantomime or dramatic play skills

Divide the class into two teams. Whisper the name of an animal to a student. Have the student act out the animal. The student's team has one minute to guess the animal. If the team doesn't get the answer, the other team gets a minute to guess. Use common animals for young students. Older students might use charade-like gestures to act out animals such as African elephant, red kangaroo, bald eagle, Canada goose, long-fingered bat, red-tailed hawk, mountain lion, turkey vulture, or desert tortoise.

Historical Hangman
Builds spelling and vocabulary 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 TV had only one show that was shown 24/7? What show would you want to be on TV all the time? Why?

Play the Hangman game using words related to a specific subject, time period, or historic event. For example, play the game using words related to colonial times. Those words might include the following: village square, Jamestown, apprentice, tavern, Cotton Mather, hornbook, Plymouth, cooper, plantation, saltbox house, Mayflower, apothecary, or venison.

Find All the Parts
Builds language (parts of speech) skills

Provide students with a paragraph of text. You might write the paragraph on a board or chart, or you might use an overhead projector to project the paragraph on the wall. Identify a part of speech -- nouns, for example -- and have students locate and write all the noun words they find in that paragraph. How many students find all the nouns?

Analogy Puzzles

Analogies are a terrific tool for stimulating students to think critically. Write the following analogies on a board or chart. Challenge students to select the appropriate conclusion to each analogy. Have students share their responses and the reasoning behind them. Correct responses are shown in bold italic type.

1. Couch is to living room as stove is to _____.
a. heat
b. cook
c. kitchen
d. eat

2. Gas is to car as wood is to _____.
a. reed
b. build
c. fire
d. hammer

3. Carpenter is to hammer as mason is to _____.
a. brick
b. stone
c. cement
d. trowel

4. Greyhound is to dog as robin is to _____.
a. nest
b. bird
c. cage
d. chirp

5. Hair is to eye as spray is to _____.
a. comb
b. contacts
c. liner
d. lashes