How To Make the Most of Your Last 3 Minutes of Class

How To Make the Most of Your Last 3 Minutes of Class

Have you ever dreaded the last 2-3 minutes of class? It’s a tough time slot to fill. Luckily, I keep a set of notecards in a bucket by my desk to help with that. Here’s how I use them to help tame the chaos and build classroom community in those awkward few minutes before the bell.

How to Build Classroom Community in 3 Minutes or Less

At the beginning of the year, I have students list their name, class period, and 3-5 “fun facts” about themselves on a notecard. I make sure to let them know these may be shared with the class at a later date.

I collect the notecards and keep them somewhere near my desk. This way I can easily grab them when we have a few minutes at the end of class to spare. I’ll choose a random student’s notecard and read one or more of the facts as an anonymous statement. For example, “This person is a vegetarian (using fact 1) who loves video games (using fact 2).”

Students raise their hands if they think they know who the statement is describing. Anyone who yells out a name is disqualified. If students are stumped, I’ll read an additional fact or two. Sometimes I end up using all the facts on the student’s card, but sometimes I’ll only use one or two. It depends on the information. I’ll mark off which facts I use to avoid potential repeats in the future.

And that’s all there is to it. This simple, engaging activity is a powerful tool to have in your toolbox. Have a few extra minutes? Grab a couple notecards.

Awkward time slot problem: solved.

Note: Credit for this idea goes to my teaching partner, Emilee. I used to do a version of this activity in the form of a Kahoot! game, where I would collect the fun facts via Google Form and add the anonymous statements to a Kahoot! game for each class period. I kept the games in my back pocket to play at some point throughout the year, like the day before a break or a half day when I didn’t see all my classes. It was always lots of fun, but I’ve since switched to Emilee’s version to keep it as an ongoing activity I can rely on throughout the year. High-five to awesome ideas and people.

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