Uh oh. You’ve worked your way through a lesson plan but there are still 10 minutes left of class. When substitute teaching, it is important to have an activity or two to play in your back pocket when situations like this arise. Consider it a different type of emergency sub plan. Fortunately, there are skills in every subject area that are always important to review with students at all ages. When presented in the proper way, students will be engaged and excited about reviewing material. Who doesn’t love a good, challenging game, after all?
Before playing any game with students, be sure to set clear rules and expectations for behavior during the game. You will be able to teach the lesson more effectively when you do so. It is important that students hear and understand the expectations upfront so they can meet them!
If you happen to be substituting for a secondary English class, students in the class will be familiar with figurative language, specifically metaphors, similes, and personification. An easy game to play with students regarding figurative language is similar to a MadLib. Have students generate incomplete examples of each type of figurative language individually. In pairs or groups, students can pass their papers and fill in the blanks on a partner’s page. Once students have had the opportunity to share and fill in, each pair or group can share out their favorite piece of figurative language written and explain why it is an example of their chosen figurative language device.
If you find yourself substituting for a secondary Math class, students will absolutely be expected to know their multiplication tables. An easy game called “Roll your numbers” serves as a challenging and engaging activity for review. To play this game, the teacher will select two students who volunteer to roll their numbers. You will select a number, starting easy, like 2. The students will be timed, each having to state their times tables through 12 of the number 2 (e.g. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc.). The student who is the quickest remains standing and will be challenged by another student.
Review games are helpful for students because they reinforce previously taught skills that will always need to be sharpened. They are also easy for you to manage, provided you set clear expectations from the get go. Are there any other educational review games you know of that can be played with students?