Five Minute Time Fillers

Hey, ya'll! Once again, I'm stoked to be apart of the June Bright Ideas Blog Hop! My bright idea this month is a culmination of ideas to use when you have a few minutes left with your students before the bell rings.

If you're a teacher, then I'm sure like me you run into the issue from time to time of having just a few minutes left on the clock with your students,'re done. The lesson's finished, but your time with your students is not. I partner teach, and although we try to have perfect timing when we switch classes, it rarely happens. So, I often have a few minutes where I need to keep my students entertained and learning, even though my lessons are done for the day.

Here's what I do:

1) Make a List of Activities on Your Phone

I use Evernote, but any app that stores text will do. Anytime I come across a quick learning activity, or cool science video, I add it to my Evernote. That way I'm not having to search my brain for ideas while keeping a group of students calm and collective.

2) Review Games

You can always do a quick Q&A with your students over what you've taught that day. I got this fun "ball popper" at a toy store, and it works great for reviewing. All of the students sit on the carpet, but one who holds the ball popper.

He asks a question on a specific skill that I give him. Students raise their hands and he calls on one. If he/she answers correctly, he pops the ball to them, he/she catches it, and then it's his/her turn. My students love this, so if you can get your hands on one, definitely try it. I've also used "pig poppers" that you can find at Amazon, Cracker Barrel, etc.

If students are in line, I have them practice multiples or patterns. Younger grades can practice counting. I point at students while going down the line. If a student answers incorrectly, we start all over. Once we make it to the end of the line, we cheer and have a quick, little celebration.

I also created a multiplication ball from my local Dollar General that students pass around while answering the products. This could be used for all sorts of math problems. Or, you could use a ball with nothing on it to do a quick Q&A as stated above.

3) Science Videos

Now on Facebook and YouTube, I'm always coming across very interesting science experiment videos. I've created a separate Evernote for this. I open Evernote on my computer and pick a video for us to watch on our whiteboard. My students LOVE King of Random.

4) Dry-Erase Boards

If you use dry-erase boards on a regular basis, then I'm sure you already do this. I have students pull them out. I ask a question and then call on one student. That student comes to the front of the class and observes all of his classmates. The classmates write the answer on their boards and show it to him. He decides which answer to choose and tells me. If he's correct, the class earns a point. If he's incorrect, I earn a point. The team with most points before time is up wins.

5) Read

This is more than obvious, but as a science and math Spanish immersion teacher, I have to remind myself to incorporate read-alouds and reading time whenever possible. These last few minutes are a perfect time.

6) Teach a New App or Technology Tool

If you are fortunate enough to have an iPad in your classroom, a few minutes is all you need to share how to play a new math app or create a presentation in Keynote. 

So what else can I add to my Evernote? Please let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this bright idea! You can find lots more teacher fun at my Pinterest account, my Facebook page, and my TpT store. And now, keep on hopping and finding lots more fabulous bright ideas down below!

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Tabitha Carro


  1. Love, love, love the ball popper! I'm sure your students love it, too!

  2. I love the idea of keeping the list on your phone! King of Random looks cool!

    One time filler I do is "Guess the Number"... I have a number between 1 and 100. The children guess a number and I'll say "higher" or "lower". After a while they get real good at narrowing down the field and guessing the number in very few guesses!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  3. I'll have to use a ball popper in my lessons. I teach French and Spanish and am always looking for short games and activities to use!
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Mme Gauthier's French Class


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