Planning entertaining Friday activities doesn't mean teachers give up all educational value for the day. Look for activities students will enjoy, while providing educational content. Consider making fun Friday activities a small portion of the class period, such as introducing a lesson or as a reward during the final moments of Friday's class. These activities need to be compatible with your teaching style.
Teacher for a Day
Rotate students to be teacher for a day on Fridays. This requires preparation on the part of the teacher and students. Assign students their teaching Friday several weeks in advance and provide them with the topic they will cover. Have students turn in an outline of their lesson plan two weeks before they are to teach. Review the lesson plan with the student and offer suggestions. Encourage students to be creative but to teach the topic. Make sure that a student review sheet, worksheet or homework assignment is included with the lesson for a grade. The student teacher is graded on the lesson he presents.
Encourage students to participate in quick discussions, sharing information about themselves. Divide the class into groups of five or six, alternating the group members each week. This allows students to get to know one another and work with other members of the class. Ask the group to sit in a small circle, assigning one person to be the leader. The leader presents a topic, such as "I feel that" or "a person I admire is." Each group member offers a quick response. Consider providing the leader with a list of topics so there is little down time. Give each week a theme based on something you're studying in class.
Design entertaining 10-minute activities for the beginning or end of Friday's class. Conduct a quick science experiment such as cleaning pennies with lemon juice or adding salt to water to make an egg float. Look for activities students can do in groups, that require minimal set-up and cleanup and which follow the week's lesson. Try math races on the board, dividing the students into teams. Review previous lessons and challenge students with new material. Write progressive stories. Ask students to write one sentence on a sheet of notebook paper and systematically pass it around the room. Each student progresses the story with one or two sentences. This may take several class periods, but progressive stories are easy and entertaining. Teach students about other countries, using their traditions and culture. Bring in music, clothing, food and artifacts from these countries for students to examine.
Erica Green has been a freelance journalist since 2008. She has contributed to the Atlantic Publishing Company, Texas Sports, Confessions of a Homeowner and more. Green is currently pursuing a degree in Spanish, and she tutors English Language Learner students. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas and is a certified middle school teacher.