The Magic Hat – Mid-Week Focus – Maximizing Transition Times

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid-Week Focus!

Mid-Week Focus is all about quick and easy ways to approach teaching to keep kids on task in any instructional setting.

Let’s share insight and practical ideas. Let’s blend fun with function, and LET’S MAKE THE MOST OF TRANSITION TIMES!

What's under the magic hat today?

What’s under the magic hat today?

What’s under the magic hat today?

Fast-action games that will help you prevent lost time in class and maximize the value of transition times.

This year’s Super Bowl (US) is history, but you and your class can continue to enjoy a super bowl full of quick games that will help you catch and keep their attention and build skills.

Play Minute Games to:

 boost students’ mental powers.

 refresh tired minds.

 keep the class focused on you.

lead into specific subject study times, such as reading, math, etc.

The game descriptions below are as brief as the minutes it will take you and your class to play them…

GUESS WHO – Famous people from all eras and every corner of the world can be the “superstars” in this educational game.

How to play…

As the name of the game implies, you “throw out” the question and call on students with raised hands eager to answer.

For example, you might say, “Guess who couldn’t read until he turned age twelve.”

Answer: Thomas Edison, inventor

Quickly play again, especially if you want to further engage kids that have difficulty in school. “Guess who struggled with words (like the boy in my blog pic here), and

Guess who couldn't read until he turned age twelve.

Guess who struggled with words; someone famous!

found math to be difficult, and had a terrible time writing, even as an adult.”

Answer: Albert Einstein, mathematician and physicist

Reward Guess Who game winners with whatever you choose.

WHAT’S HOT, WHAT’S NOT!  – Let’s say that you’re directing your class to transition quietly after P.E. (physical education) as they prepare to head to lunch in the cafeteria. You’ve noticed that two of the kids were teasing a classmate with a learning disability when the class returned to your room from the gym.

You seize the moment by announcing a minute’s play of What’s Hot? What’s Not!

How to play…

This is a snap of a round robin. You start the play by calling out, “What’s Hot?” Student’s hands fly, ready with an answer like, “_______________, (a “front page” celebrity in your country) is hot!”

You continue the minute game, asking, “What’s Not?” Then you answer your own question with words to the effect that bullying is NOT HOT!

If you have time, call on a volunteer student to “shout out” what else is not hot.

Close the game, saying, “Time for lunch class…let’s get ready.”

COUNT THE HEARTS – In the season of Valentine’s, this is a fun minute game to play between lessons. Count the Hearts connects with math and helps kids develop strong observation skills.

Get ready to play by

How many hearts can you count in our classroom?

How many hearts can you count in our classroom?

posting a certain number of hearts around your classroom in various places (heart cut-outs on bulletin boards, a heart-decorated piggy bank on your desk, for example, like the one shown in my blog pic here.)

How to play…

When you tell your class, for example, that it’s time to end chapter book reading and get ready for math, explain what students need to do and THEN say, “Those who put your book away and get your math work out first get an extra minute to play Count The Hearts.” 

You continue by saying, “I know the total count of hearts in our classroom today. The students that make a good guess will win a prize.”

WRAP IT UP – This is a minute game that builds self-awareness in students. It offers an opportunity for you and your class to end a day on a positive note.

A few minutes before you announce that it’s time to prepare for dismissal, you tell the class that you’re pleased with their hard work (if that’s true) and want to see what students think of the day.

You announce that you’ve saved a few minutes to close class with a quick game of Wrap It Up.

How to play…

Start the game by asking for students to raise their hands if they’d like to finish the statement, “I like the way I _______________________ today in school.”

It’s amazing what teachers and students can accomplish in a few minutes time when fun meets functional with minute games to play!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers, Mid-Week Focus
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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