The English Teacher

Time Filling Up Exercises

A technique that sounds related to 'busy work', but is instead a good classroom management tool, is the time filling up activity. This activity isn't used as some use 'busy work' to punish students or to keep them busy on a regular basis, but is used when there is time between units, to fill out a period when a lesson ends early, as an activity for a substitute teacher, or just for a change of pace.

The main difference between this activity and 'busy work' is that its underlying purpose is to teach something because even if an activity is to pass time, the students should benefit from doing it. They should learn something. For such activities remember, students like to talk, hear their own voices, read and comment on an essay. Some activities such as a t-sheet for comments on essays, tongue twisters, and reading and discussing fables, might be used. Unplanned impromptu speeches are popular but they are usually limited in their participation to a minority of the class. For high school students, occasionally one can give a challenging mature essay from a college text. Example: 'A Career Criminal Justifies Himself' in Annette Rottenberg's Argumentation. 3rd Ed.

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