ALL GRADE LEVELS
*Word Searches and Crossword Puzzles*
It helps to have a selection of word searches and crossword puzzles on hand that relate to different subjects. For example, one with math vocabulary, one with animal names, one with science vocabulary, one with French or Spanish vocabulary etc. This way, you can pull one out to photocopy when a curriculum based activity is needed.
*Math Cue Card Game*
Each student is given a cue card. A math equation is written on one side of the cue card, and its answer is written on one side of a DIFFERENT cue card. So, each cue card has an math equation on one side, and the answer to a different math equation on the other side. One card has "START" written on one side, and a math equation written on the other side. The person with this card starts the game by standing up and saying "start", and then reading out the equation written on their card. Whoever has the answer to that equation written on one side of their card then stands up and reads out the answer, and then the equation they have written on the other side of their card. Whoever has the answer to that equation stands up next. The game continues on until the end when everyone has read their cue cards. They can race to try and finish the activity in a certain amount of time, and reward can be given. The cards can be mixed up and redistributed for more games.
*BINGO for any subject*
Carry blank homemade Bingo sheets around, and they can used for any subject at any grade level. They blank squares can be filled in with numbers up to 30 (you read math equations equally numbers up to 30) or French vocabulary (you keep a master list to read from, they use the same list to pick and choose words from and place them where they like on the card). They can be filled in with lots of other things as well including spelling words, science vocabulary words, upper and lower case letters etc. Students use small objects like counting blocks or bingo chips to cover the spaces, or they can place a check mark in the corner of each box with erasable pencil.
There are plenty of curriculum-related videos out there that can be brought to schools and used in a pinch, assuming that a television and VCR or DVD player are available. Great ones are the Magic School Bus videos. These can be found in book stores and toy stores, as well as many teaching stores. They can also sometimes be found at yard sales!
*Read a Book and Write About it*
With the primary grades, you can read a book to them, and then have them complete a simple activity to go along with it. For example, after reading "The Balloon Tree" by Phoebe Gilman, have the students write a few sentences about what they would like to have growing on a tree in their backyard, and then illustrate it. Or, read "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka, and then have students write a new ending to their own favourite fairy tale.
Students sit in a circle and a ball is passed around the circle. You pick a magic number, like 9 for instance. As they receive the ball, students say a number, counting up from 1. Any time a student must say a number that has a 9 in it, they must say "Mooooo" instead. So for instance, students who receive the ball for the numbers 9, 19, 29, 39 etc. must say "Mooooo" instead of the number. This game can be made even more complicated by requiring that students say "Mooooo" at numbers that are a multiple of 9 as well (ie. 18, 27, 36, 45 etc.).
*Vocabulary Game with Teams*
Divide the class into a couple of teams (girls vs boys works). Have one student from each team come up to the board and grab some chalk. You then give them a word to spell, or an English word they need to translate into French/Spanish. As soon as you say it, the first person to spell it correctly on the board wins a point for their team. For example, for French class, while each team member stands at the board with chalk, ready to go, you might say "Monday", and the first person to correctly write and spell "Lundi" on the board wins a point.
This is a drama game that is fun and requires minimal set up. Put the class into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group an object from around the classroom (ex. a stapler, a chalk board eraser, a ruler etc.). The students have to use that object to make a commercial, but they have to pretend that the object is something else. For example, perhaps the ruler is not a ruler at all, but a back scratcher. The more creative they can be, the better.
*Have a Debate*
Are they learning about current events? Have a debate about something that has happened recently in the news. Are they learning about habitats? Have a debate about which animal has the most luxurious home. For health class, have a class debate about healthy eating and exercise. There are an infinite number of topics that you can have class debates on. Debates work best with the intermediate and senior grade levels. Some possible debate topics are: Is Global Warming actually occurring? Why is obesity becoming more of a problem with today's youth? Should hockey really be Canada's national sport? What are the pros and cons of smoking?
*The game of DIX*
Great for math in early primary grades, or for learning French or Spanish number vocabulary. The class stands in a circle and they must count to 10. Each student can say either 1 or 3 numbers at a time, but they must count up in order. For example, student one says "1, 2", student two says "3", student three says "4", and so on. The person who is forced to say "10" is out and then must then sit down. This game can also be played up to 20 or 30, depending on the desired level of difficulty.
*Yes or No Game*
Have students all walk around the gym/classroom/playground in the same direction. You yell out things that can have a "true" or "false" value given to it. For instance, you might yell out "My favourite food is Pizza". If this is true for a student, then they just continue walking in the same direction they were already walking in. If this is not true for a particular student, then that student turns around and starts walking in the opposite direction. Keep calling out similar statements. Students will be walking continue changing directions anytime the statements are "true" for them. Some examples of statements: My favourite colour is blue. I went to the beach this summer. I watch cartoons on the weekend. I like video games. I have brothers at home. My favourite subject in school is math. My name starts with a vowel. This game is great for a warm up for gym class, or as an active indoor activity.
*Ghost in the Graveyard*
This game works best when played outside on the playground. Establish a "home base", and one student to be the "ghost". The ghost then runs and hides while everyone else covers their eyes. Once the ghost has hidden, the rest of the class spreads out looking for them. When a student finds the ghost, they yell out "Ghost in the Graveyard!". All the students try to run back to "home base" before the "ghost" can tag them.