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Lesson PlanningDon't Waste a Minute: Quick-Tivities for
Awkward Moments

So much to do! So little time! You can't afford to waste a minute. What do you do when every day is interrupted by at least a few transitions that never seem to fit into the natural rhythm of your lessons? Fill those minutes with real learning by introducing your students to one of these valuable mini lessons.

During a typical school day, from three to five transitions interrupt the normal flow of the day's lessons. If you're not careful, those transitions can eat up nearly an hour of actual learning time. If you're prepared, however, you can make use of that time by providing your students with valuable practice and extension activities. The activities below will keep your students busy, interested, and learning for every minute of the day.

Related Features from Education World

If you're looking for more quick activities and icebreakers, be sure to check out these Education World articles:

* Substitute Survival: Mini Lessons for Unexpected Moments

* Icebreakers 2000: Getting-to-Know-You Activities for the First Days of School

* First-Day-of-School 'Icebreakers' Help Students and Teachers Warm Up!

Magic Sum
Students learn a "magic" trick as they practice two-digit addition. (Grades 3-5 and 6-8)

Van Gogh's Family Tree
Students interpret clues referring to a word's sound and definition to learn new vocabulary words in this fun activity. (Grades 3-5 and 6-8)

A Bernoulli Levitator
Students suspend an object in the air by blowing down on it. (Grades 9-12)

Do You See What I See?
Students reproduce a drawing or work of art by following oral directions. (Grades 6-8 and 9-12)

Multiplication Bee
Students play a fun multiplication game. (Grades 3-5)

I Think, Therefore...
Students use logic to complete a statement by Charles Darwin. (Grades 9-12)

The Alphabet Game
Students use a set of alphabet cards to play a small-group spelling game. (Grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8)

Crack the Energy Code
Students solve a cryptogram and learn about fossil fuels. (Grades 3-5 and 6-8)

Mime Rhymes
Students act out and identify word pairs in this charades game. (Grades K-2)

Pop Up a Card
Students make pop-up monster cards. (Grades 5-8 and 9-12)


Take Five
Teachnet provides a quick list of five-minute classroom activities.

Teaching Magic as a Math Topic in an Elementary Classroom
This site provides a number of activities for teaching math as magic.

Mystery Word
This site offers a number of mystery word puzzles. Each puzzle contains four clues to a mystery word.

Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 03/25/2005
Last updated 06/02/2010