2 Short Activities to Wake Up Sleepy Students

By: Amelia Leigner

It’s halfway through class and some of the students are starting to dose off. Heck – even you feel like your lesson plan is getting a bit stale! Time to breathe life back into your class with a couple short activities to get students up and moving.

Do as I Say, Not as I Do
One of my favorite activities is a little twist on the old classic “Simon Says.” Have students stand up and instruct them to “touch your head,” “touch your knees,” “touch your nose,” etc. while simultaneously following those actions.

After the students have warmed up a bit, try to throw them off by touching a different part of your body then the one you instruct them to. For example say, “touch your shoulders” but put your hands on your knees. See how many of the students catch on and praise those students. After a few moments, do correct yourself by touching the correct body part so that any confused students will catch on.

Continue this until all of the students realize to do as you say, instead of follow your actions. This activity always gets a few giggles and is a quick way to regain everyone’s attention.

Sit Down If….
Another quick game I use to revive a stale class is “Sit Down If…” which can be a great way to practice new vocabulary.

Again, I’ll have all of the students stand up and then give them instructions to “sit down if…” they have certain attributes. For example, if you are teaching colors, ask them to sit down if their favorite color is pink, then blue, then green, etc.

Once most of the kids are seated, have them all stand up again for one more round. Get creative and silly with this activity!

Unfortunately, most classrooms are not yet equipped with built-in Starbucks, but these mid-class activities should have the same effect. It is important to keep them brief and not allow students to stray too far from their seats so that lessons can quickly be resumed after. If possible, include target vocabulary for the day, but a bit of review is OK too.

The main point of these activities is to get all of the students standing up and paying attention to you, their teacher. This will refocus them on what you are saying and wake them up from their naps, much like a quick shot of espresso.

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