20 tips for when you have 5 minutes left in a lesson....

Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones, who loves sharing ideas, is a Google Certified Teacher interested in creativity and innovation in the classroom. She thrives on trying new things and engaging and empowering students. Her blog was a finalist in the 2013 EduBlog awards and was recommended by The Guardian as a must-read for 2014.

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Website: Createinnovateexplore.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We have all been there. Your planned activities have all been finished and you have five minutes left before the bell rings. What should you do? Here are twenty ideas to try and make the entire of lesson time meaningful:

1. Ask students to write a question and answer on a two piece jigsaw and then mix them up to use as a starter next lesson. Resource here. 

2. Ask students to ‘frame’ their one best idea or piece of learning from the lesson. This could be either in their books on on an actual frame in the classroom. Resource here.

3. Get the students to write a question and put it in a plastic egg. They they have to *carefully* throw the eggs and each answer a question. Resource here.

4. Get students to create an advent calendar of questions. These can then be used when December comes around. Resource here.

5. Create plenary cards for the classroom door and ask students to write a sentence on each. Resource here.

6. Create a classroom ‘wish’ and ‘question’ wall and have each student contribute an idea to each. Resource here.

7. Ask students to use post-it notes to indicate how confident they feel with the learning in the lesson. You can take a photograph of this and use it at the end of the next lesson to show progress. Resource here.

8. Have students ‘tweet’ their learning in 140 characters, either using a class # you can create into kinesthetic typography with Spout App which you can project, or on paper. Resource here.

9. Use a target board and paper arrows for students to identify how happy they are with the lesson content. Resource here.

10. Ask students to complete a lesson exit ticket. It is really useful to reflect on if their have achieve the lesson objectives and I always ask them to add a personal objective - such as to ensure they take detailed notes or try and contribute in class. Resource here.

11. Create a ‘stuck with you’ wall and make a display of all the learning so far in a topic. It is really encouraging to see this grow every lesson. Resource here.

12. Create a dice of higher order thinking questions about a topic and students have to roll it and answer at least one question. Resource here.

13. Use a ball in the classroom (or balloon) for students to write something they have learnt in the lesson. Warning - board pens rub off and leave hands very grubby! Resource here.

14. Ask learners to write five sentences about their learning. They then have to reduce these to five words and then one word. Much harder than it sounds!

15. Ask learners to contribute three things they learnt today to a shared Padlet wall. They can then be converted to a PDF and shared on the school VLE for revision.

16. Ask students to draw on mini whiteboards what they have learnt in the lesson.

17. Play just a minute. Pick five students and ask them to talk for one minute about their learning today. Projecting a big countdown clock adds to the drama.

18. Ask each student to pick a keyword from the lesson and use it to create a word cloud or Wordeo.

19. Ask students to write 3 pub quiz style questions on their learning that you can use as a quiz next lesson.

20. Tidy up! All classroom can do with some love and attention so use the time to give your classroom a bit of TLC. I often play this song when doing so, which oddly the students seem to enjoy.

YouTube link

Personally, I have always wanted one of those machines that has plastic eggs in, which I could refill with challenge activities to use in just such a circumstance! I hope these ideas help and stop your lessons running out of steam before the bell goes. There are lots of great ideas shared on Pinterest, and also on the #PedagooFriday which will help you (and your learners) stay inspired.

What do you do when you have a few minutes left during a lesson? Let us know in the comments.

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