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1) TOSS AROUND AN OBJECT: Have everyone sit on top of their desks. Have them toss around a soft object, like a beanie baby. The students toss the object around. Before s/he throws the object to the next person, s/he must say the name of the person to whom s/he’s throwing it. If the person doesn’t catch it, s/he must sit down. If the person throwing the object threw a really bad throw, s/he must sit down. Very quickly add in a few additional objects for them to throw at the same time.

2) PAPER PLANE WARS (done best during a note-taking day): Tell everyone to take out a sheet of paper. They have 2 minutes to make a paper airplane. Have them write their names on their planes. Have everyone stand against one wall and toss their air plane. Give a piece of candy to the person who had the plane that flew the furthest. Select a few people to quickly clean up while everyone returns to their desks. Resume note-taking.

3) PAPER BASKETBALL (also best done during a note-taking day): Tell everyone to take out a sheet of paper and crumple it up. Have each row of desks take turns trying to toss the paper into the garbage can. If more than one person from a row makes it into the can, have them do a second (or third) toss off. If no one from a row makes it in, the winner is the person who got the closest. Give a piece of candy to the winner from each row, if desired, and then assign them the task throwing away all the balls that didn’t make it. Resume note-taking.

4) CLASS MAD LIBS: These are books that have fill-in-the-blank stories. If you don’t know what they are, look them up on-line and buy a few. OPTION A: Have the class write in their own words on their individual sheets of paper. Then read the story and let them SILENTLY fill in the blanks with whatever words they had written down. OPTION B: Call on individual students to give one answer for each fill-in-the-blank. For example, have Javier give you a color, Rachel give you a number, etc. Write the responses on the board, and then read off the stuory inserting those answers.

5) FIND SOMEONE WHO: (I always have a class set of these in my filing cabinet so I can pull them out when needed): Prepare “Find someone who…” sheets. At the top of the sheet, write “Find someone who...” Under that, draw a grid either with 12 or 16 squares. In each square write a description (speaks 3 or more languages, doesn't like rap music, etc.). Leave space for them to write a persons’s name in that box. First explain the directions: “You are going to get a sheet with descriptions of things people can do or have done. You’re going to go around the class and have a different person sign whatever box is applicable to them. For example, I have been to a different country, so Sherika could have me sign that box on her paper. Marcus has three sisters, so she could have him sign that square. You’ll have 5 minutes to get as many different people to fill out your boxes. As soon as the time goes off, sit back down and count how many squares you have filled out. The person with the most squares filled out wins. Again, remember you must get a different person to sign each of your boxes.” Pass out the sheets and start the timer. more than Race to see who finishes first. (Examples: Find someone who: has eaten a frog; has gone to Disney; has nice shoes, has forgotten to put on deodorant before, can touch his/her tongue to his/her nose, has never been outside of Pennsylvania, prefers Pepsi to Coke, has great hair, is good at sports, is the oldest person in their family, prefers the beach to snow, loves to cook, wants to be a teacher, you’d like to get to know better, can juggle, etc.)

6) MYSTERY DESCRIPTIONS: (This is a game that takes up 1-2 minutes of a few class days.) Have everyone write down three things that they think no one else knows about them. Forewarn them that these papers will be read to the class. Have them write their names at the bottom of the sheet. Collect the sheets. Randomly select a few sheets each day, and have everyone in the class try to guess who is being described.

7) SCATTERGORIES: Have about 10 topics/subjects (sports, cars, names of girls, store names, animals, famous people during the American War for Independence, menu items, countries, etc.) Pick a letter of the alphabet. Everyone has 2 minutes to come up with a word beginning with that letter for each topic. For example, if you select th letter “D,” for sport, you’d write “diving”, car: “Diablo”, name of girl “Daisy”, etc. They cannot use the same word for 2 topics (i. e. Daisy for a flower and for a girl’s name). When time ends, have the student who filled out the most topics read off his/her answers. If someone else wrote the same word for the topic as him/her, they both cross it off and receive no points for it. Have the next person who had the most line filled out read out his/hers, and again have them cross off any answers that other people in the class write down. I usually have 3-5 people read theirs off. From those people, the one who got the most points gets a piece of candy.

8) WHO IS IT?: Have everyone tear a sheet of paper into 10 pieces. Everyone writes down 1 different name on each piece of paper. They should try to write down the names of people that everyone in the room would of heard of. It’s okay if two people write the same names. Put all the strips of paper into a container. Divide the class into two teams (girls vs. guys or the left side of the room vs. the right). Flip a coin to see who goes first. Team A sends up one person. That person pulls out a name and then begins describing the person who is on the sheet of paper. They can speak, gesture, point, etc. -- anything except saying the name itself (or spelling it, etc.) When the person has gotten their team to guess the name on the slip, they pull out another name. S/he has 30 seconds to try to get their team to guess as many people as possible in the given time. Then Team B sends up one person from their team, and s/he has 30 seconds to try to get his/her team to guess as many names as possible. Continue this until 3-5 people from each team has gone up to describe people.

9) PARTNER UP: Have everyone stand up and walk around the room as you play music. When you stop the music, call out a number. Everyone must link arms in groups of that size. For instance, if you call out “5,” everyone must get into groups of 5. Those who are not in a group of 5 must sit down. Play music again, and call out another number. Continue until only two people are left.

10) MINGLING: Have everyone stand up and walk around the room as you play music. When you stop the music, each student must pair up with someone close to them. Call out a question like, “What is your favorite radio station?” The students in each pair ask the other person the question and answer it. Start the music again, and have them walk around again. When you stop the music, have them pair up with someone who they haven’t paired up with before. Throw out another question for them to ask and answer. Continue this until they’ve asked each other 5-10 questions. (Example questions: How many brothers or sisters do you have? When is your birthday? What’s your favorite book? What’s your favorite food? Where would you like to go for a vacation? What do you usually do after school? Who’s your favorite athlete?)

11) PICTIONARY/WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW

12) FOUR CORNERS: Designate each of the four corners of the room as 1, 2, 3 and 4. Have one student sit at his desk, lay his/her head down, close his/her eyes, and count to 15. Everyone else should stand up and stand in one of the four corners of the room. As soon as the student is finished counting, have him/her say a number between 1 and 4. All the students standing in that corner must sit back at their desks. The counting student counts again, as the students still standing move to a different corner. The counting student calls out another number, and the students standing in that corner are out. This continues until all the students are out. Go back to taking notes, or play once more with the student who was left standing counting.