Free Time is the Devil

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
your bell-to-bell buddy, Suzanne

I'm all for talking, moving around, and laughter in the classroom, but there is something about 5 extra minutes at the end of a class period that make my skin crawl.  You feel my pain- those are the minutes when behavior problems escalate, your principal come in for a walkthrough :/, and you know down to the second how much time stands between you and the bell ringing.

Make those final flex minutes work for you.  Here are 10 ways to fill free time and strengthen learning:
1.  Read aloud- This is often a lost art in secondary education but your kiddos will be criss-cross apple sauce before your finished orienting them to the title page.  (So much elementary lingo in that sentence.  Forgive me!)

2.  Allow for free reading-  Worried about your reluctant readers flaring up?  Let them move and make it special.  If your students sit in chairs, have them flip it upside down, and they've just crafted a reading recliner.  They're so handy!  No chairs? No problem!  Just give them the option to move.  I recently overheard a sixth grader (think: not your model scholar) brag about how he can sit on the counter and read.  It's the little things, people!

3.  Cartoon Yourself- Have students grab a scrap of paper or post it.  They can sketch themselves complete with speech and thought bubbles.  Specify that the speech and thoughts must pertain to class because heaven knows I can't handle a class period worth of middle school random thoughts.
Want a similar reaction to poetry? Check out our WWAM lesson.
4.  Literary Catch Phrase- Check it out in our TpT store or you can easily make your own.

5.  Make a metaphor- Have students think of an image that relates to the day's lesson- the content or their reaction to it.  Students can explain their thinking with this simple sentence stem:
__(Lesson Topic)__ is like __(Image)__ because...
Poetry is like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup because the best part is below the surface.

6.  Picture Inferencing- Display a picture or political cartoon to generate conversation and produces an inference.  Read more about this strategy here.  This could also work with a wordless Pixar short on YouTube.

7.  Musical Shares- Give them a question as an exit ticket.  (Look at your lesson objective to formulate your question and gauge understanding.)  Play some music and allow them to share their answers.  

8.  Write- Want your students to be better writers?  They need to write!  Allow them to free write or pick a topic from here.

9.  Tell Me Something Good- Build relationships by having students write about something good that's happened in the past couple of weeks while playing this song.  After the writing time (about 4 minutes and 30 seconds), allow students to share what they'd like to celebrate with the class.  You can keep them to read and follow up with as you'd like.

10.  Book Talks- Want to never see a book again? Read it and tell your kids about it.  It's that easy.  Bonus: Your kids see you as a reader.  Icing: They might prompt their own book talk with you.  Extreme warm hear fuzzies, friends!

1 comment

  1. Well said friend. Yes, i agree with him. Yes, if a person has been free means, then he will be having some numerous number of thoughts about various ones. Even now, the present generation students are wasting their valuable piece of free time by getting indulged in social media websites such as: facebook, twitter, whatsapp, pinterest and instagram. The very main reason for how they are always free means, as the present generation students are getting all their writing works to be completed by the expert team of research writing service websites,Like this, they are making themselves free for most of the time in order to use the above listed social websites for more number of hours. So, it is the time to be aware and make assure that our children are going in a right way.