Teach it Tuesday: Time Fillers

20140121-173504.jpgSo you know when your brilliant, perfectly planned lesson ends with an awkward 10 minutes left in class? And you are stuck with too much time to do nothing but not enough to start on something new… Here are some of my time filler suggestions. If you are looking for transition games you can find some here.



Ticket out the Door

I often plan these into my lessons but sometimes I don’t and I just throw them in anyways when we have time after a lesson conclusion. Usually I give out post it notes and have students write what they learned or a question they have on the note and then we all post them up somewhere. This with a little discussion of some of the questions is usually more than enough to fill some time.


This is my go to with primary classes because these songs often get kids moving so it makes for a great little break. My favourite

  • The Animal Song (You repeat each time substituting the animal noise for the name): There was a crocodile (chomp chomp chomp), an orangutan (oo, oo, oo), an eagle flying (whoosh, whoosh), and a silver fox (swish, swish, swish), a bunny (boing), a beaver (chomp), a crazy elephant (crazy elephant noises – fun!) – Na- na-na-na – nana – Na- na -na -na- nana (We just dance in a circle here)

Other favourites: The Moose Song, Herman the Worm, Father Abraham


I love throwing a quick write out there when we have a bit of time. The point of a quick write is to just get your thoughts down and write for the whole time – for me, these are NEVER for marks, just practice!

  • Three word writes – get students to give three different (appropriate!) words and they must use all three words in their story
  • If I were/had… – Typical “what would you do” type story
  • Mid-way story – give students a sentence that would be found in the middle of a story and have them finish it off (e.g. “When all of a sudden…”)


If you have dice then I have games! Here are a couple of full class games. I bought some blow up dice a few years ago and they have been very helpful ever since…

  • Team Rolling. I have the class line up in two teams facing each other and the person at the front of each line rolls a dice. Whichever team gets the higher roll than both people (the two front people) go to the back of that line. The team with the most players wins.
  • Pig. This popular dice game is great for students to play in small groups but I also like playing it where they are trying to “beat the teacher.” If you have never played it you can find some rules here.
  • Higher or Lower. This is a variation on a heads or tails game that uses a bit more probability. I roll one dice and read the number out. Students then put their hands in the air or on their desk to vote on whether they think the next roll will be higher (hands up) or lower (hands down). You can do this elimination style or just have them do something silly if they get it wrong. Taking a step backwards works well depending on the room set up.

I would love to hear how you use these activities in your classroom! And I would also love more suggestions for the “time filler” activities that you use.


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