"The term “lame duck” is most often used to describe a president who is still sitting in office after his or her successor has been elected. Technically this person is still the president, but his or her decision-making power is generally perceived to be minimal.
We have something like that in school: those days when technically we’re still in school, but because it’s right before vacation, the end of the school year is near, or we’re in the middle of standardized testing, those class hours don’t have the same instructional potential as your average school day. In some cases, like on standardized test days in certain districts, teachers are explicitly told they CAN’T plan regular instruction. On these Lame Duck days, it’s hard to figure out what we can do to still provide valuable learning experiences for our students.
Sometimes instead of days, we have small bursts of Lame Duck time: The leftover 15 minutes after the fire drill, when you know you don’t have enough time to actually finish the lesson you were teaching, but you don’t want to just let them sit there. We often call the activities we need for these times “sponge activities.” Regardless of what you call it or how much you need, we all have those times when students are right in front of us but the regularly scheduled programming just isn’t going to work.
The paragraphs on why not to show videos in class provide the author's perspective. For you, it comes down to the Media Use Guidelines in the A+ Curriculum Guides and copyright. There are some activities in here that do not provide much of an instructional component (like coloring books), so be sure to read through the offerings carefully.
Great for full days: Mystery Skype, Board/Card Games (from you Makerspaces), Minute to Win It Games, Kahoot, STEM Challenges, Genius Hour, Community Service Project, Student Video Project, Breakout EDU, TED Talks
Great for 10-15 minute bursts: Clean-up Day, Thank You Notes, Philosophical Chairs Debate, Group Story/Progressive Writing, Found Poetry, Icebreakers, Podcast reviews, Read Aloud, Mindfulness Practice
Use Story Cubes or Story Cards OR make a Story Bag or Story Sticks. Students create their own stories in written or verbal form to share small or large group using the story creation materials as a catalyst and using story elements they have learned about so far this year--character, setting, plot, etc.
* Practice typing skills (Angela Ralph)
* Storygami, Smarty Pins on ipads, creative writing prompts, quick letters to tech buddies (1st graders and 6th graders), maker spaces, quick reads and exit ticket responses. (Judy Bauer)
* Show book trailers from YouTube (Cari Poston)
* I really like a good game of Eye Spy. This is a terrific question skill builder. Learning how to ask questions that limit the possible choices helps students think about how they frame their inquiry! (Deb Nichols)
* Book talk a few lonely titles and see if they can get a check out! Or, makerspace or games are great! I'm always surprised how many choose a board game even when computer games are an option. (Lisa Raszler)
* Read aloud for fun or makerspace activities (Donna Garcia)
* Informal review of previous materials or makerspace (Robert Schull)
* Makersites (online makerspace activities) (Robin Walker)
* Read aloud, sing library songs, stand up hand up pair up discussions (Michele Tilson)
* 10 min: Logic Puzzles (Perplexors or Bella's Mystery Deck are good options), Calm or mindfulness activities on GoNoodle Whole Period: Prodigy, code.org, Minecraft EDU, Fake it to Make it, Scratch, Storybird, etc. (Graham Engdahl)
* Use leftover activities from last year's summer school (i.e. launch rockets with straws from Summer 2017). Read to a partner--anywhere in the library, but you must be reading. Ask students to for book suggestions to help you get an order list ready for next year. (Kim Beebee)
Use one of the ideas below or create your own or have your students create a set to use!
Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).
Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).