3 Quick Ways to Keep Kids on Their Toes

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Well, the rose-colored glasses have been removed. The honeymoon phase of the school year is way over and everyone has settled in. I don’t know about you but that first time I realize some of my students have gotten a little too comfortable is always a sign that it’s time for me to add some spark and start mixing new things into our established routines. Today I’m sharing a few easy, zero-to-very-little prep ideas to keep kids on their toes as we roll through the fall.

  1. Become a Professor

Need to lecture or get through some drier material or basically do anything that kids might not love right away? Turn into Professor _______ (insert last name here). It’s very easy. I let students know that Professor Perrotta will be guest-teaching and that when she arrives, to remember that she might not be so good at remembering names and definitely won’t be pleased if you ask to go to the bathroom when she’s talking. The amusement kids get when you accidentally call “John”, “Jason” or “Marjorie”, “Mallory” is the best. It’s also a great way to reset expectations while using humor.

2. Play Jenga

I’m actually obsessed with this and will advocate for all educators to have the game in their classrooms. I use this for any kind of review. Ask a question and if the student gets it right they come up to the tower and move a piece. Point for the students. If they get it wrong, you get to move and you get the point. Continue til the tower falls, which they also find hilarious every. single. time.

3. Wheeldecide

My colleague just shared this gem with the English teachers in our content meeting yesterday morning and I can’t wait to use it. You’ll see when you click the link that you can populate the wheel with anything from class topics (think: discussions, review before a test, etc) to student names. Something about the tension of waiting to see what the wheel lands on is a surefire way to keep students from checking out. You can also embed the wheel and program it to not repeat the same topic or name! And I just realized what a perfect pairing this is with using Jenga in the class so that will be happening very soon.

Here’s to keeping the energy and momentum going through the fall. Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

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1 thought on “3 Quick Ways to Keep Kids on Their Toes”

  1. Love the Jenga idea! While recognize that I am not a teacher, I always wanted to be one. However, two roads diverged… anyway, some pieces we studied in AP English were drier than dry; can I have an amen for anything written by Ibsen! Having the Jenga would have made it bearable. So kudos to anything that keeps those bright little minds engaged!



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