If you are noticing that many of your lessons are ending up with too much time to spare, you need to reflect on why this is happening. Even veteran teachers miscalculate the time needed for activities and discussion, and this article addresses how to get back to the basics of time management in your classroom.
Getting students up and moving at the end of a lesson is an engaging way to keep their brains focused on what they've learned that period. The physical barometer can be used in any subject area to gauge students opinions on a topic, and allow for movement and discussion.
This book has an entire chapter devoted to managing instructional time, making sure that despite all of the distractions that teachers face on a daily basis, we are still making every minute count. This is a great resource for teachers looking how to fix the problem of having extra time due to discipline issues or other time-wasters.
This interactive SmartBoard tool does require a bit of pre-planning, since you will need to program questions before you begin. However, it is a great way for students to reinforce material learned in that day's lesson or in the current unit. Plus, you get to throw (soft) things at the screen, which is every middle schoolers dream.
Another great way to discuss current events and informational text that allows you to tailor the content based on a child's interest and reading level. The articles also have built in quizzes at the end, and can also allow teachers to create a specific question based on a current classroom topic such as central idea or theme.
This is an excellent way to review current events with hip-hop beats. At the end of each segment is a quiz where you can have the class answer multiple choice questions, and even pit classes against each other in a "rap battle" to see who gets the highest percentage correct. The Week in Rap updates every Friday, so you can easily turn this quick video series into a regular piece in your classroom.