Monday, January 11, 2010

Running down the clock

Have you ever gotten a classroom with skimpy (or no) lesson plans?

Thankfully, this does not happen to me very much. However, when it does, you can feel very panicked and worried about losing control of the room, especially when dealing with younger students who need structure and direction all the time.

There are some basic time fillers:
-Study Hall time
-Heads up 7 Up

These are great because students all know how to do them and it requires no extra materials on your part.

If you feel like lugging them around you can have emergency supplies like:
-Worksheets and puzzles
-A nerf ball for a round of silent ball
-Story book for youngsters

One of my favorite time fillers? Paper airplane contest! You can use binder paper or old paper out of the recycle bin. Students work in pairs or solo to create the best airplane they can, with a time limit. For the end part of class, you can either move furniture to create a flight path through the room or take them into the hallway and have them compete for distance. Any students who chose not to make a plane can be judges or write down the names of winning teams for you. You can also assign extra awards for "coolest trick" (for the plane that just looped or crashed spectacularly) "most innovative design" (for the pair that ripped, folded, and torqued their plane in unexpected ways) or "prettiest design" (in case anyone decorated their paper in addition to folding it.)

Do you have any favorite emergency lesson plans???


  1. I recommend joining It costs about $20 a year, and it's got tons of handouts and activities. Just print some and you're set when these crises arise. They have great sheets for many grades and subjects. It saved me when I subbed Spanish in December. Check my post about it:

    For third to fifth-grades, I also bring Mad Libs, which can fill up some time, especially near the end of the day. It's a great incentive for the students to be good.

  2. I remember playing Heads Up 7 Up, but don't remember HOW we played it. I guess I'd have to refresh myself before I tried that one! :) I have no idea what SSR is. I like the idea about the airplanes.

    I'm not a sub yet, so I don't have any ideas to share.

  3. I can never remember the exact rules to Heads up up either, but trust me, the kids do!

  4. And SSR means "silent sustained reading," every school seems to have some variation on the abbreviation!

  5. Came across this and thought of you: