Yesterday was yearbook picture day for my middle schoolers. Because the length of time needed for each class to be photographed varies based on how many other classes are waiting, I was improvising time fillers upon each return to class - organize binders, work on homework, new seating charts.
One of my classes is fifteen minutes longer than the rest due to our lunch schedule. We took pictures, then came back to class and created our new seat assignments - and I still had thirty minutes left. On a whim, I issued a spelling challenge that worked far better than I expected.
I had my students take out an index card, and I gave them five words to spell: Wednesday, February, library, university (student requested word), and pneumonia (just for fun). I then called individual students up to the board who thought they spelled the word correctly. If that student was wrong, she/he called on someone else to come up and correctly spell the word.
I was not expecting the madness that followed. My kids were raising their hands, pleading to be called upon, and jumping up and down.They were determined to show their classmates that they knew something. We do not conduct formal spelling lessons at this stage so having students get excited about spelling is like encountering the Northern Lights. But now that I know it is a way to sneak in spelling, I am certainly going to have to do it again.