Skip to main content

5-Minute Energizers to Activate You and Your Students

We're officially in the grind. I ask my teacher colleagues how they're doing, and the standard response is a sigh: "I'm really looking forward to catching up on grading over the 3-day weekend," "I'm counting down the days until Thanksgiving," "I have 20 letters of recommendation to write."
Image result for energize

If we're feeling this way, our students are too! Here are super quick activities to inject energy back into your classroom:

Snap, Stomp, Clap (Partners)

  1. Each person counts off to 3, i.e. Person A: "1", Person B: "2", Person A: "3", Person B: "1", etc. 
  2. When everyone gets the hang of it, try it again, but replace 1's with a snap of the fingers (snap, 2, 3, snap, 2, 3, etc.) 
  3. Do it again, but also replace 3's with a stomp (snap, 2, stomp, snap, 2, stomp, etc.) 
  4. Do it again, but also replace 2's with a clap (snap, clap, stomp, snap, clap, stomp, etc.)

Gift Giving Game (Partners)

  1. Person A pantomimes giving a gift. It can be any size, shape, etc. as suggested by how that person gives it.
  2. Person B says, "Thank you for the ____ (improvised gift)!"
  3. Person A says, "You're welcome! I knew you wanted it because ______ (improvised reason)."
  4. Then, Person B pantomimes giving a gift, and Person A accepts it! Keep it going for 2ish minutes, and debrief to hear fun or surprising gifts.

Thumb War (Class Circle)

  1. Everyone in the class should form a circle
  2. Lock hands with the people next to you in "thumb war" position. There may be some crossing arms / turning around - don't worry, your kids will figure it out.
  3. Thumb war for 30 seconds!
  4. Then, raise hands in air, cheer "Yay," and give a round of applause!
This last one is almost purely for fun. It was an ice breaker at a boot camp I attended, and the person facilitating was a behavioral science researcher. Her explanation was that touching another person for 30 seconds triggers the sympathetic and nervous systems, making us feel confident and happy. Well, it worked!

Taking a break helps us jump back into learning feeling refreshed! So, remember to relax, take care of yourself, and have fun with your students.


Popular posts from this blog

Back-to-School: Consider Your Feedback System, Not Grading System

One question I ask other teachers is “How important is feedback in learning?” Every teacher I talk to agrees that feedback is crucial. It’s how both teacher and student gets better. Research backs the importance of feedback; building off of John Hattie’s work comparing factors on learning, Evidence for Learning’s toolkit ranks feedback as having the highest impact out of their 34 approaches (along with meta-cognition) with a +8 months’ impact on students’ learning progress. I follow the feedback question with “How important are grades in learning?” It might seem like a loaded question. You can imagine how teachers respond: “They’re not.” Why give grades, then? We’ll save that topic for another occasion. For now, I just want to point out that we are frequently asked to consider and describe our grading system by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. We’re rarely asked about the much bigger and more important component of our work: feedback. With back-to-school qu

A Culture of Iteration: Policies and Practices for a Revision-FocusedClassroom

Success in the real world depends on a person's ability to iterate. to understand the definition of success on a task to seek feedback early and often to use that feedback to revise and refine until successful As teachers, its our job to scaffold this process, with developmentally-appropriate differentiation, until our students can fly solo. As I sit here writing this, my  SO  Dan is at his desk  red-lining  a building diagram for a warehouse in Canada. When he's done, the diagram will go back to his team of engineers where they will respond to Dan's feedback with a better design. They'll repeat this process until both building code and client requirements have been met. To do this work, which requires an iteration cycle that can last over a year or more, Dan has to understand building code and client needs, seek feedback from other engineers and the client, and use that feedback to revise and refine until the design is ready for implementation. ​Dan wasn'

Part 2 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Engaging with Criteria

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper . Part 1 - Feedback is Emotional For feedback information to be useful, it must communicate:  Where am I going? (What are the goals?) How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?) Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?) (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).  Supporting students in engaging with the grading criteria helps give context to the feedback to come. In other words, it does the groundwork of helping them determine for themselves, "Where am I going?"