I can take no credit for devising any of these...but aren't people imaginative?

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Activities to use in the classroom

My first activity is based on bingo and uses very little resources, just scrap paper. Have the children rule up a piece of paper into nine squares. Now depending on what year level, the children choose nine numbers (year 2 -1 to 30; year 4 - 20 to 100). The teacher does not just call out the numbers as in bingo, they ask a maths question. For example, place value - I have 3 tens and 4 ones, or my number is 10 less than; for older grades mental equations, times tables, addition and subtractions. The questions are only limited by the teacher's imagination. I let all the children know the answer but this is optional. The students cross off the number and the winner is the first to complete all nine squares. The teacher needs to complete a recorded of the numbers.


Secret Number.doc


Also from Natalie

The game is designed for 8 or more players but I think it could be played one-on-one or in small groups as the situation called for it – or depending on the number of resources on hand. You could also reduce the ‘weapons’ to one or two instead of three. I would be interested to hear of any who try it or if anyone has suggestions or variations to add.

The Great Duel

· For each challenger – 1x clothes peg, 1x hanky (or small cloth), 1x chalk

1. Define large play area

2. Divide players into 2 teams (at least) and give each challenger their weapons (peg, hanky & chalk).

3. At the signal to start each player challenges an opposition player to a duel by calling out “challenge!” If you beat your opponent to the battle cry, you decide on which weapon to use for your duel. If you win the duel you gain your opponent’s weapon as a trophy

· To win the chalk duel you must be the first to draw on your opponent’s shoe

· To win the peg duel you must be the first to pin your peg on your opponent’s clothes

· To win the hanky duel you must be the first to snatch your opponent’s ‘hanky’ dangling from their rear waistband or pocket

There is no duel if the person you challenged does not have the nominated weapon. You are out of the game when all your weapons are lost.

4. After an appropriate time stop the game and tally how many of each weapon was piled up by each team. Obviously the largest pile wins.

This one is a langue game. Again I haven’t had a chance to try it out as I have been given younger classes. This one is based on the Reader’s Digest vocab section. For all those high school teachers out there …. How suitable would this be for highschoolers?

Dictionary Challenge

· Class set of dictionaries, pen and paper

1. Divide class in 4 even teams.

2. In groups of two or three the kids find unusual words in the dictionary (how many is up to you). For each word they need to write one real meaning and three incorrect but creative meanings. They also need to write a sentence using the word correctly. (a reminder about inappropriate topics might be needed)

3. Each team chooses the best word from each of its members to challenge the other 3 large teams with their multiple choice dictionary meanings (approx 5 or so words).

4. Once each team chooses a response the correct answer along with the sentence is given. Teams with the correct answer get a point.

5. After all the teams have delivered their words tally the points, the team with the greatest number of points wins (for bonus points they could try to spell the words).

This idea is taken from Productive Pedagogies, Intellectual Quality, Higher-order Thinking:

It is an example of a Year 2 Maths lesson of classification and grouping generally and more specifically set theory. Using a large range of diverse objects the work can be carried out as a class or group activity. The students suggest basis for classification based on physical appearances, colour, texture, function etc., identify common elements and discuss findings with each other, record and report back to the class.

Students can be selected to arrange objects following instructions, e.g. put the cup first, the telephone second. Terms such as; next to, in between, after, before, in the middle, underneath, skip one, and on top of can be explored.

Here is a list of other ways to engage the students using a diverse set of objects:

Arrange in alphabetical order.

Play “I went shopping”.

Identify object missing?

Use “feely bag” to describe object and name it.

Mime action object is used for and guess.

There are many ways to approach creative writing activities. Here’s one I would like to try.

“Michael Rosen Poetry Street Workshop” on “Youtube” demonstrates how to work with students to create poetry from their own experiences. He uses 3 questions What can I see? What can I hear? and What am I thinking? They describe subjects using these questions to create 3 lined stanzas about a topic connected by a chorus. This method could be used repeatedly across the year levels.

From Lyn


This is a great but simple activity that can take on a theme that the classroom teacher may be doing at the time. This is a whole class activity.

One student at a time is asked to form a part of a "postcard". So, for example, if the class was doing a theme about "The Amazon", the first student might decide to stand in the space as large snake, or a crocodile. The next student then joins the "scene" and adds to it with their contribution to the "postcard". Each student one by one then adds to the postcard by standing/sitting/forming a position in the space. Once all the students have joined the postcard, teacher can then say "Freeze" so that everyone is still for a moment, taking their space in the "class postcard" of the "Amazon", or "Dinosaurs", etc.

This activity could also be used with a narrative base - so they may form a postcard of a scene from a book that they are reading at the time. During the activity, students will talk about what they might be, and teacher and students can help to trigger ideas about what else we might see "in that postcard".

After this activity - it is possible to then follow on with a writing activity....what you might write on the back of that "class postcard" which was created.

Imaginary Clay

This is also an activity that the whole class can do together. Good activity to do after a lunch break, or to focus or re-focus a class.

Class sits in circle on the floor. Teacher explains he/she has a piece of "imaginary clay". Teacher pretends to mould the imaginary clay into an object that could fit into a shoebox. The teacher "uses" that object then passes the object onto the student next to him/her. That student then has to "use" the object given to them - (e.g. pretend to wear the glasses), then student has to take the object and "re-mould" the clay into a different object (e.g. a toothbrush) - then pretends to use that object, then passes it on to the next person in the circle who then continues with the activity. Each time the "clay object" is passed on it needs to be used and then re-moulded. Once everyone in the circle has had a turn, you can change it to objects that are bigger than a shoebox, or make up some other particular focus.

From Lucinda


On the last day of term I compiled a 'top 40' music quiz that consisted of 'who sings?' complete the sentence,and fill in the gaps. The students loved it and best of all it is suitable for all age groups and appeals to both sexes. It just requires a little radio time, but pays off as it also works to build a rapport with the students as they find you have something in common with them.

Activity 2

I am using Lucinda's 'postcard' activity as inspiration here and suggesting that a postcard, photo or picture be placed up on the board and the students have to use their imagination and create a story, using the picutre as inspiration.

From Wendy

Sight Word Snap - As all children love snap this also helps with learning of their sight words. Some children really struggle to recall their sight words and this is a fun way to learn.

Have 2 or 3 cards of each of the year 1 sight word list. Laminate them and it is as easy as playing normal snap. The children love it.

The Bear Game:

The children sit in a circle and one child is in the middle with a small container. The class sing the rhyme: "Isn't it funny that a bear likes honey Buzz Buzz Buzz I wonder why s/he does?" Go to sleep Mr/Mrs Bear (The child in the middle pretends to eat the honey from the bowl then lies down & pretends to go to sleep. The teacher chooses a student to sneak in and take the honey pot. The class call " Wake up Mr/Mrs Bear". The bear than chases the child around the circle once to try and catch them. The other child has to quickly get into the middle and that child then becomes the bear. The children love this and it is great for turn taking

From Pam

1. Speed tests.
I have found that from year 2 up love this, as they can record their time and challenge themselves.
You need: A stopwatch, the worksheet (I have them pre cut into thirds)
I hand out the sheets, get them to put their names and date on it. Then when everyone is showing me they are ready I call out a number (eg 5!) they write it up the top and then multiply every number by 5. When they are finished they raise their hand (no calling out) and I tell them how long it took them to do it.
When they have finished they either sit their quietly or do silent reading until everyone is finished (I usually give a time limit otherwise some kids would be sitting there all day).
Then someone reads out all the correct answers and they mark them.

I usually do this a couple of times throughout the day so they can see themselves improve their time!

Speed Test.doc

I will attach the worksheet I use. I usually photocopy it back-to-back. You can change the numbers to put them in different orders. This makes it different every time you use it (the kids can't just rote learn it). But be very careful that when you give them out all the kids are doing the same one, if not when you call out the answers it becomes tricky!!

2. Quiz Game

I use this at the end of a day (or session) when I find there is about 10 or more minutes spare.

All kids find a space in the room. (I usually count down from 10 so they don't take forever!) I asked quiz questions on Austalian History, maths, any work they have been doing in class, general knowledge, pop culture (tv shows, music etc). Or anything else that comes to mind.
The first kid to put their hand up and answer correctly takes a step. If they get within arm distance of another person they may tap them on the shoulder and that person sits down where they are (out of the game).
No excessive leaning or big steps!!
Last person standing wins.

Group the kids into teams and ask 5 questions at a time, they write the answers down and record their scores in between each set.
When you run out of time, each team adds their scores and the team with the highest score wins.
This works well when you have the class often and they can keep a running tally of the scores over the term.

From Antje

Left and right – Year 1
I am usually called to work with preschool to Year 3 classes. When no program has been left for the day, I generally try to cover some literacy work during the first session, maths in the middle session and art/craft in the afternoon.

My mathematics activities involve number study, shape or measurement. I always strive to provide activities that all the children can successfully complete.

For Year 1, the activities are usually open ended to account for the children's developing skills.

Objective: To introduce and consolidate the concepts of 'left and right' with a focus on the word 'and'.

Materials: Large pieces of paper for each student with the words 'left and right' written on them.


Explain to the children that we have a left and a right hand and that some people write with their left hand and some people write with their right hand. Explain that knowing left from right is important – for example, keep left signs. The children may offer suggestions here.
Demonstrate how to trace around the left and right hands. Provide a piece of paper to each child and have them trace their hands above the words 'left and right'.
Allow the children time to decorate their hands as they choose.
Ask the children to trace over the words 'left and right' with a coloured pencil. Then ask them to copy the words underneath with a lead pencil.

Brainstorm other phrases that are linked with the word 'and' – for example, fish and chips, strawberries and cream, mum and dad.
Ask the children to choose two examples to draw in their scrapbooks.
Ask the children to write the word 'and' between their pictures.

What's the time Mr Wolf? – Years 1 and 2
You will need a toy clock for this game. Select a child to be the wolf and give them the clock. When the other children ask 'What's the time Mr Wolf?', the wolf moves the hour hand on the clock. The children have to read the new time and then take the appropriate number of steps forward.

When the wolf says 'Dinner time', the children must run in the opposite direction to the wolf until they are deemed safe.


Cartoon – Years 1 to 3
Read a story and ask the children to draw between four and six images from the story and write captions/speech bubbles for their pictures.

Extension: Children can make up their own story.


Odd/even game – Lower primary
For this activity you can either make up the following gameboard (which would consist of a greater number of circles in real life) in advance and laminate it for re-use, or you can have the children make their own gameboards.

Materials: 2 dice, a different-coloured counter for each player, gameboard


Directions: Divide the class into groups of three. Each player puts their counter on the start. Players take turns to throw the dice and add up their total. If they get an even number they move to the left of the board, if they get an odd number they move to the right of the board. The winner is the first player to reach either end of the board.


TV/newspaper presentations – Years 3 and up
This lesson was first planned when I was expecting to teach a Year 1 class, but was given Year 4 instead!

This plan works well for Year 3 classes and higher, if the students can work quietly.

Step 1
I tell the class that we are all going to be interviewers which means we will have to interview others in the class, write up our results in graph form and present our results as a TV interview or newspaper article. I also explain that this lesson will only be successful if they can work very quietly as we don't want to disturb the other classes.

Step 2
I ask the class what topics we could pick to interview each other about – for example, pets, TV shows, food. The possibilities are endless, but teachers and students in the class are forbidden topics.

I give an example of what we are going to do by writing a topic on the board (for example, pets) and asking the children to come up with five choices (for example, rats, mice, cats, dogs and birds).

Step 3
I then ask each child to choose a topic and think of five choices relating to that topic. They bring their topic and choices to show me. Once I have approved their choice, they can begin interviewing the other children in the class and keeping tally marks to show which items the other children select as their favourites.

Their page should look like this:







They are only allowed to ask me for my choice when they have asked everyone else in the class.

Step 4
I then help the students to graph the results of their interviews.

Step 5
I ask the children to be creative and make up reasons why koalas, for example, were least liked and worms were most liked. I explain that they can only write 'I think' or 'I believe' that these are the reasons because they don't know this is the truth. I also encourage them to refer to the other choices and to explain why they believe the children voted this way.

Step 6
I pretend to be an interviewer on TV and demonstrate one way of presenting the information that has been gathered.

'Hello, this is Miss Clarke from (your school)! Tonight we are going to present the results of "Which is your favourite pet?". We discovered as we walked through (your school) that children liked worms because worms are wriggly and sticky and maybe even edible and that … ' (rave on as an interviewer would).

'Well that's all for tonight! Over to you Charlene for the weather! Join us again tomorrow night for another exciting episode of Favourites!'

I also explain what information needs to be included in a newspaper article – the name of the newspaper, the name of the article, a picture and a graph, and the article itself.

The children have to write up their interview (TV or newspaper) before they can practise or present it to the class. Children doing TV interviews can ask other children to come onto their shows to be interviewed, but they need to write up the other children's parts too.

Step 7
When they've written up their interviews, they can join with up to three other children and collaboratively work out how they will present their combined interview. They can have a practice (or keep practising over their break times).

Step 8
I invite the children to present their findings to the class. I often find that the students I least expect make great camera people or like to be the one who says '5,4,3,2,1 – ON AIR'.

I encourage the children to be creative and to make their TV interviews as interesting as possible. Possibly the best interview I have seen involved a story about rats being the least liked pets. The interviewee went ballistic in the middle of the interview trying to get the (pretend) rat out of her hair.

I conclude the lesson by inviting the class to vote for the best presentation and giving their reason in writing. (Warning – they generally pick the most fun interview rather than the best one!)


Be your own architect – Middle/upper primary
Subjects: Mathematics, Art

Time: About 90 minutes

Materials: Graph paper, floor plans of houses


Invite the children to define the terms perimeter and area.

Discuss the size of a typical bedroom containing a desk, bed, wardrobe and so on (for example, 3 m × 4 m). Map out this space together on a piece of graph paper.

Ask the children to use supplied graph paper to design their own house, incorporating specified elements such as four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and so on. I distribute sample floor plans that I've cut out of the newspaper from commercial house builders such as Tamawood Homes and AV Jennings. This gives an idea of doors, windows and passageways.

Ask the children to draw the façade of their house.

Invite students to write a paragraph or two describing the features of their house.


Perspective drawing – Middle/upper primary
This activity is great for middle/upper school students. It is an 'art' lesson which really enforces listening skills. It can take an hour to complete. Even children, who are not really art-oriented often reveal an enthusiasm.

It is a perspective art lesson, very structured, whereby I do the drawing on the blackboard in stages, clearly explaining each step at a time.

The subject is a city scene of buildings of varying heights showing footpaths, crossings, shadows and so on.

The lesson also makes use of measuring skills and shows the children the use of vanishing points in art.

It also provides an opportunity to teach children about graphite and various graphite compositions in pencils. Further time could be spent rendering finished cityscapes.