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5-Minute Fillers: Vocabulary, Spelling, and More

Volume 13

Builds vocabulary and spelling skills

Start students with a noun. Example: house They write that word at the top of a sheet of paper. Say "Go!" and students will extend their list by writing a noun that begins with the last letter of the noun before it. The activity continues. The person with the longest list of nouns at the end of three minutes is the winner. (Example: house, elephant, toe, egg, gerbil, ladder, road, dollar, robot) Verify that all words are nouns.

Quick! A Sentence!
Builds language (parts of speech) 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 wanted to receive a "reasonable" allowance each week? How much would that allowance be? Why do you consider that amount to be reasonable?

Divide students into groups of four. Each student in the group has a number. The teacher calls out a number (for example, "3"). Person 3 in each group writes a word that is a noun. Person 3 passes the paper to person 4, who writes a verb. Then person 1 writes an adjective. Finally, person 2 must write a sentence that uses all three parts of speech. Repeat the process, but start with a different number this time. Save time at the end of the activity to share sentences.

Builds math computation skills

Use a standard set of bingo cards for this activity. Instead of calling out numbers, call out math problems that equal those numbers. For example: If you are to call out N-32, call instead 8 X 4, 16 + 16, or 45 - 13. Students must do the math before they mark their cards. Be sure to check the winner's card. The bingo format can be adapted to almost any topic of study.

Alternate idea: Use the card that is part of the Math Bingo Lesson Plan in our archive.

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: printer, program, keyboard, and software are all words associated with a computer