Whew! I am exhausted. Now I will admit that I am normally exhausted at the end of every first semester but this year being virtual learning only it has been worse than normal years. And whether you are in the physical classroom or are teaching virtually, I know you are exhausted as well.
But there are two weeks of classes left and students still need to be learning, reviewing and studying, so no time to put the feet up just yet and relax.
At this time of year, I pull out those activities that are already prepared and ready to go. I also look to some favorite online activities that I can assign for students.
I have written earlier blogs about similar activities and you can find more here: Earlier blog post about some online tools here: https://www.bluemountainmath.com/11-online-tools-for-secondary-students/
Holiday resources are also a great choice. https://www.bluemountainmath.com/holiday-resources-to-keep-students-engaged/
If you are tired, like me, and looking for some ideas for students these last few days of the year, like me, here are some ideas:
1. Kahoot or Quizizz.
I like Quizizz better, just a personal choice but the activities are already made and ready to assign on both platforms. Kids love them. They like the competition aspect to come out ahead of their classmates. A lot of topics available waiting for you. You can adapt the question to your own class easily by choosing questions that are already created.
I gave my Consumer Math/Personal Finance students a 6-day road trip project they worked on a week. I typically assign this project in the second semester but we were ready to virtually travel now. Students chose the destination, had to include 8 facts about their trip (because I love trivia) and visit 4 attractions.
The students planned where to go, where to stay, cost of meals, and how much gas they would use. Now some of them drove to Florida (it was a 6 day trip, so they either did not stay long or drove really fast). It was fun and I enjoyed seeing all the pictures they included in their presentation. Note: when some students did gas calculations, they only planned for enough gas to get there. I guess some did not plan to go home : )
My Geometry class did a Geogebra project earlier in the semester (I was tired then too). I asked them to create a digital notebook demonstrating how to use Geogebra and to assume the person had no knowledge. Students created all types of polygons and performed digital constructions. They also typed the directions for each activity.
3. Whole Class Games
Classes love Jeopardy type games. You can put students in pairs and let them play or use teams. If you play in teams, you can create a slide with students pre-assigned in teams. I choose the category and point value and let the kids answer. I have the students type the answer in the chat, but not press enter until I give the countdown.
This way all the answers are posted at the same time. (OK, in each class I have a student who looks to see the answers before she answers). Then I tally up the correct answers and award the points to the team.
You can create a free game online here: https://jeopardylabs.com/
or you can choose from the games that are already made.
A two player challenge board at Quia.com that practices writing equations in slope-intercept form. https://www.quia.com/cb/852989.html.
Quia also has a game called Rags to Riches that is similar to “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
Another game my students enjoy is Give and Take. This one does take longer. Teacher presents a slide with the problem and students type their answers as before.
After the students answer, instead of getting the points, they either award the points to another team or take the points from another team. This equalizes all the teams. The team with all the gifted students no longer has an advantage. This is a game of strategy.
4. Study Guide Jigsaw
Students work in groups to prepare a study guide. I typically assign this in advance. I assign the groups and the area the student is to cover by using examples, fill in the blank questions and short answer or multiple choice. Then students work in breakout rooms, share their section and students have a study guide for the unit or semester test.
I find this works well because students only have to become an expert at a small part of the unit and then have the chance to work with other experts. After the group session, students share materials with each other.
5. Stump the Students
I ask students to prepare 10 questions (with answers) from their notes to test other students with. Students are allowed to use any diagrams in the notes or create their own Students turn in the questions/answers to me before class.
Then I place the students in groups and they take turns quizzing each other with their questions. Some of these questions become so difficult I feel like they are playing “Stump the Teacher”. This is a question from a student. Now, his answer was very confused and had some flaws, but it helped me understand where he was confused.
6. I have, who has
I have several decks of these cards that I use in the class. Because we have been virtual, it has become more difficult to use these but I have converted them to a group activity. Place the cards on a Jamboard and have the students arrange them in order. They work collaboratively and it serves as a great review.
Some tips: you can make as many or as few cards as you like if you are using these virtually. I put the cards, mixed up on a Jamboard and then let students put them in order. I don’t number or letter the cards, but I have found that students will check out other boards if they get stuck. You can display all boards and have groups leave a comment on other group boards.
If you are using in the class, I normally allow for one card per student and one for myself. I always start us off with the first card. I have the students stand up as they are waiting for their card and once they have responded, they sit down. You can have the students all sit and just turn over the cards when done.
If you want to make your own, here is a template to use: https://bit.ly/3gcMLcb
These ideas will keep you going. You may find that students enjoy these activities so much you incorporate them for next semester as well. Do you have some favorite activities to use that are easy to prepare and engage students? Please share ideas by commenting below.