Spending 7 hours sitting inside of a classroom can be exhausting for not only students, but teachers as well! I had the pleasure of working with the most hyperactive and energetic class this school year. They were BRILLIANT, but the majority of them could not stay still for 5 minutes. This school year consisted of lots of reflection from my part. I spent much time trying to brainstorm engaging ideas that would get my kiddos MOVING, while still being engaged and on-task.

So, here are 8 activities & ideas that worked for my class. Let's just say, at the end of the school year when my kiddos were asked to write about their "Favorite Third Grade Memories", the majority of these activities were on their list.


Cocktail Discussions
Don't worry, there no alcohol required for this. ;) This was actually a great strategy I learned at a CRISS training (I've you've never taken one of these trainings, I highly recommend it! Tons of engaging ideas!) It is very similar to a think-pair-share but with an active twist. I usually use cocktail discussions at a beginning of a brand new lesson just to see what students already know about a specific topic. They are a great way of introducing weekly essential questions.

I write the essential question on the board and circle it. Example EQ: How can we help make the Earth better? The students copy it down in their notebooks and create a web around it. I then set a timer for 2-3 minutes. The students must walk around the room and form a group of 5-6. The groups are usually formed on each of the four corners in the classroom. If the students walk up to a group that has already exceeded the amount of members, they must quickly go and find another group. At their groups, they discuss the topic. Students record information discussed amongst members or any new ideas. After the 2-3 minutes are over and the buzzer goes off, the students must walk around the room and form a new group. (Yes, some of the old members might overlap and that's okay! As long as it's not the exact same group as before.) The students brainstorm new ideas with this group and share any ideas gathered from the previous group. This process can be repeated 3-4 times. The activity is concluded with a whole-class shared discussion.

 Musical Chairs
My kiddos loved this activity and begged me to do it everyday! I used this as a review for 2-digit multiplication, but it can be used to review any kind of skill. Here's how it works: I place the review sheet or activity on each desk. Once the music starts, the students move around the room ---dancing, wiggling, doing the dab.... whatever makes them happy. Once the music stops, they have to find an empty desk, sit down, and solve the first problem. The music starts again, they repeat the process and solve the next problem. I didn't take away any chairs like the typical musical chairs because that would leave kids without an opportunity to solve any problems. It's very important that all students are held accountable during games. There shouldn't be any students sitting out doing nothing.

Scoots around the room are a great way to get your students moving. The best part is that they can be done with any kind of task cards that you may have handy! Simply place the cards around the room (make sure they are numbered) and give each student a response sheet. I pick two numbers at random from my popsicle stick bucket and that determines the buddies that will be working together on the scoot. Each pair starts at a different task card placed around the room. They move around the room answering each card until they have reached their starting point. This can also be done using a timer, but it can be a bit stressful for those students that work at a slower pace.

Vocabulary Charades
Every Thursday I give a group of 3-4 students a vocabulary word. (I whisper it in their ear so no other group can hear it) The students brainstorm a mini skit that will help the rest of the class guess what word they are acting out. The kiddos get so creative with this and even incorporate props from around the room!

Learning "Hut"
St.Patrick's Day happened to land on the week right before state testing this school year.I knew that my students only had a week to prep for the test, but I also wanted them to enjoy the holiday! I set up themed centers to review each of the skills that would be on the test. I did this for math and reading.One of their favorite centers was the "Leprechaun Cave". All I did was hang a green tablecloth over my reading corner to create a little 'hut'. The students worked on elapsed time in there with a student teacher. (I would recommend supervision in that center since you can't really see what's going on inside.) They had so much fun they didn't even realize they were really prepping for the test!
Bucket Review
This is very similar to the room scoots, you would just be using little buckets. Place buckets around the room (You may even want to 'hide' them for some extra fun!) The students must pick up the question inside, answer it, and move on to the next bucket. I found these cute envelopes in the Target dollar section last year and they were perfect for hiding review questions inside:
Take it Outside!
I LOVE being outside, especially with the beautiful Miami weather. Students get to move around and it's a nice change of scenery. During a lesson on shapes, I took my students out to the field and called out different shapes. EX: octagon, quadrilateral, triangle, etx. They had to find enough students and create the shape using their bodies. Easy, fun, and meaningful!
Get Ride of the Desks!
Flexible seating? YES! I have not completely gotten rid of my desks and chairs because I doubt my school would be okay with that. But I do allow my students to work wherever they want whenever it is time for group/buddy work. My students love sitting on the floor to do work. The minute they're sitting on the floor, the level of engagement rises immediately.It really is magical..

Kids will be kids! We surely can not expect them to stay sitting in a desk 8 hours a day without acting up or getting off-task. I know I sure can't! I hope these ideas can help you in your own classroom! :)
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