Most likely, there are times and spaces in your day when not much learning is taking place. Here are some easy ways to sneak a little learning into those spaces.
- Look in Line Put up interesting and relevant things to look at on the walls where your students usually line up. Some ideas include: Current vocabulary or spelling words, mental math problems fun science, or social studies facts, or reflection questions about a book the class is reading
- Think While Walking When you are taking the students somewhere like Music or PE, ask them a question that takes a little thought before you leave. Just before you arrive, ask for answers. This works even better when you are coming back because then you can have the kids answer in your own classroom.
- Answer in Silence While your class is waiting in the hall for a specialist until the previous class is dismissed or while your students are waiting in the lunch line, ask them a series of questions with “Yes” or “No” answers. Students use sign language to answer. In this way, everyone is silently participating. Review or math questions work well.
- Put it on the Board Put an optional brain teaser, mental math, or other problem on the board each day – each week if you have older students and you are doing a very challenging one. When students solve the problem they put their name and answer on a slip of paper and drop it into the slot of a closed container. Once a week, draw one or several and give the winners a small prize.
- Ask for an Opinion Put an opinion question with two to four choices on the board and spaces for each answer. For attendance, students move small magnets with their names to their chosen answer. Would You Rather Questions are great for this.
- Add an Extra Challenge Add a fun little brain teaser or reflection question to a homework assignment. If you surround it with a fun shape or put it in a speech bubble it is somehow much more motivating than just making it another question. Put one in your Parent Newsletter and encourage parents to share it with their children.
- Put it on a Pass Put vocabulary, mental math or review questions on your bathroom passes. They are just sitting there…may as well learn something. If your class is the only one who uses the bathrooms, do the same thing on the backs of the stall doors.
- Loan DVDs Consider starting a DVD library. Students could check out worthwhile videos for the weekend. You could include movie versions of books you have read, documentaries, nature programs, educational TV shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy or Myth Busters, etc. Students could earn extra credit by answering some relevant questions or writing a short report.
What do you do to get a little extra learning in? Please comment with your ideas.