Sunday, June 28, 2015

How to Keep Your Class Engaged When You Have to Wait

You get to music class two minutes too early. The guidance counselor was supposed to come at 2:25, but it's 2:26 and no one has arrived. Half the class is finished in the bathroom, and the other half is supposed to wait quietly. 

Whenever you're trying to get your class to wait patiently for a couple minutes, the potential for chaos exists. We all have little tricks, but it never hurts to have one more. I like to play, "it could be, but it's not."

This game--if you want to call it that--is incredibly simple, but engaging. I ask the class to guess what I'm thinking based on one or two clues.

Teacher: I'm thinking of a day of the week.
(hands go up)
Student: Thursday
Teacher: It could be Thursday (because that is a day of the week) but it's not.
Student: Monday
Teacher: It could be Monday, but it's not.

*At this point, kids who might not have remembered what the days of the week are starting to raise their hands.*

Student: January
Teacher: Hm. It couldn't be January because that's a month. I'm thinking of a day of the week.
Student: Friday
Teacher: Yes! You got it! Now I'm thinking of a month.

This game is really engaging because of the element of luck and the lack of threat.
If kids don't know the answer right away, they might figure it out as they hear other students giving answers that "could have" been right. If a kid gives a wrong answer, they aren't really embarrassed because almost everyone is getting answers "wrong."

Usually if kid guesses my answer on the first try I tell them "could be, but it's not," and pick a new correct choice in my head. It makes the game a little more fun. Of course, if you end up playing for a long time, it can be really exciting to let someone get it on the first try. Similarly, if waiting time is over, the game can come to a very fast conclusion by making the next answer "the one." Just be careful with switching your answer around, if you make a mistake they will catch you!

Other prompts I use are:
I'm thinking a fruit.
I'm thinking of a shape.
I'm thinking of a color.
I'm thinking of a state.
I'm thinking of a number that is less than/greater than.
I'm thinking of an odd number.
I'm thinking of two numbers with a sum of 7.
I'm thinking of two numbers with a difference of 2.
I'm thinking of a number you say when you count by 10s.

You can relate this activity to whatever content you're teaching!
I know that some of you like to have physical copies of ideas like this, so I made a set of 24 cards with questions as a special gift to my blog readers.

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photo credit: Hallway via photopin (license)

1 comment:

  1. Great game to play! Teachers always need these little time fillers in their bag of tricks.....

    Mind Sparks


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