So the last week of the toughest term arrives. It might not be the longest, but the Spring, or Lent, term is the darkest, coldest and dreariest.
Although, to be fair, can anybody remember a February and March with weather quite like we are enjoying at the moment? Let’s hope that the climate isn’t having a laugh at our expense, and is about to send both a beast from the east and a wet pest from the west in our direction just in time for the holidays.
It’s a given amongst experienced teachers that the longer we can keep our classes going on normal lessons the better. Kids like routine, and the end of term specials – assemblies, awards, plays, House matches and so on can really unsettle a class. Imagine having 8C for the last lesson of the day, and they’ve already watched five videos since 9.00am – none of which they saw to the end…you can understand the frustration that sets in.
So here are some top tips for end of term fillers which kids adore. These ideas can be adapted for every age from six year olds to Year 6 to 6th Form. Because, everybody loves a quiz.
End of Term Filler One – The Revision Quiz
This is great for exam classes, because it combines revision with sharing ideas and a bit of fun.
Divide the class into teams. No more than six; four works perfectly. Write six topics you want to revise on the board, and under each write the numbers 3, 5 and 7. Then, ask each team to pick one topic of their own (I, and I claim intellectual copyright but you can use it for free, play it with any topics allowed, as long as I know enough to ask questions about them. However, a purer form sticks to work covered in class.)
So now there are ten or twelve topics on the board. Appoint a team captain for each side, put their name on the board and write a J for Joker above their name.
The quiz starts with a first hand up two pointer. Then, work round clockwise from the team who got the opening question right, let’s call them Team One. The captain choses a topic and one from a 7 point question – really tough; a 5 point one – middling difficulty; or an easy 3 pointer – that option is then rubbed off the board. The team works together to come up with the answer. If they get it wrong, the question goes as a bonus to the next team along (known colloquially as Team Two), but worth one point less. And so on until teams have either had a go, or one has got it right.
Then Team Two have a go at choosing a new question, with the same rules as above. At one point, before they hear the question, a team can play their joker, which doubles their points if they get it right.
This is a great little quiz which is educational as well. Honestly.
End of Term Filler Two – Stealing from TV
If you haven’t watched the BBC2 quiz Only Connect, then do. It is great. It also offers three excellent rounds which, with a little preparation, can offer superb reasoning skill practice. And, if it is put on a power point, then the quiz can be used with multiple classes.
Four of a Kind This takes the Connecting Wall from Only Connect as its inspiration. It can be played with the entire class, divided into teams. A grid is split into sixteen squares. In each square is a word or phrase. These will group together into four groups of four, with a connecting clue for each. Give a time limit and points for each correct group and connecting clue. I used to give tips – two per team – as this is a tough quiz. (The BBC website has real life examples, but they are mostly impossibly hard.)
Missing Vowels Great for thinking skills. Again, get the group in teams and prepare a power point with words on a connected theme with their vowels missing. Use the ‘appear’ animation. This enables the teacher to work out which hand goes up first, and keep plenty of pace in the game.
What Comes Eighth? Again, use power point and the ‘appear’ animation. Choose a topic where a list of answers applies. For example, the world’s biggest countries. An answer is revealed to a team. They must work out which answer comes eighth. If they fail, another answer is released, the points available drop by one and the next team has a go. This is an especially good game because it encourages discussion among the other teams while they anticipate their turn.
End of Term Filler Three – Making Liars of Children
This is a much more fun activity, and might be called Would I Fib To You? The astute reader could see a link to a famous TV show here. Again. (And why not, if they are successful then by definition these quizzes are fun and easy to follow).
This one takes a bit of preparation. Get the class to write down three things about themselves that nobody knows. Clarify that we are looking for fun things. One of my favourites was a boy who when he fought with his brother both had to spend time on the naughty step. Whoever mum judged to be the winner sat on the top of the stairs with the loser at the bottom.
Collect the class’s lists, and bring three students to the front. Choose one of the ‘events’ from your list, making sure that the child who wrote this is one of those called forward. Then, read out the ‘event’ – all three pretend it happened to them; the one to whom it applies must answer questions from the class truthfully, the other two can lie through their teeth.
These are good, fun end of term activities which can be used across many ages. They are quick to put together, and can be really flexible, occupying a ten minute post assembly session to an unexpected double cover lesson with no work set.
Admittedly, they are not for all. If giving your classes some handy end of term fun is a bit too much of an effort, then stick to that video of Toy Story. Again. And hope OFSTED don’t spring a surprise inspection.
Examples of Filler Two – answers at the end
Spurs Log Bow Pistol
Thicken Arsenal Holster Chelsea
Brentford Cap QPR Deerstalker
Wig Boots Beret Hat
Missing Vowels – Theme: From Jesus Christ Superstar
DNTK NWH TLHM
NDR WLLY DWB BR
What Comes Eighth?
1 Clyde – 10pts
2 Spey – 8pts
3 Tay – 6pts
4 Wye – 5pts
5 Great Ouse – 4 pts
6 Trent – 3pts
7 Thames – 1pt
Answers: Wall – Spurs, Holster, Boots, Pistol – all associated with cowboys.
Arsenal, Brentford, QPR, Chelsea – London football clubs (Note: if Spurs is included here, then the other groups do not work).
Cap, Hat, Beret, Deerstalker – all worn on the head.
Log, Thicken, Wig, Bow – the first letter can be changed to create a farm animal.
Missing Vowels: Tim Rice, Pilate, Heaven on Your Mind, Superstar, I don’t know how to love him, Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Eighth – Severn – longest UK rivers in reverse order.
1- Teachers Guide – 5 ways to make the most of October half term
2- Top 10 tips for teachers for the start of term
3- 3 Top tips to survive the Spring term
4- Top 5 tips for NQTs for the start of term