Making use of those spare 5 minutes…

Whatever we have been teaching and no matter which day it is, we can often find that we have a spare few minutes to fill – here’s a few thoughts on how you may wish to use them.

Throughout your teaching day we have a planned timetable which takes us through lesson by lesson and generally (hopefully) we manage a seamless transition in each change.

However, there are those points during the day when planned lessons stop and we break for morning playtime or lunch…and then finally end our day.

It is at these times that we may, on occasion, find that we have a few minutes to spare – so just how can we use them productively?


Because of the often random appearance of these few spare minutes it isn’t really something that you can plan for. Lessons do not always run to planned times…some content your class may get through much quicker than you expected or perhaps the content has been more difficult to assimilate and you have decided to reduce your expectation for that lesson and take smaller steps over a few more lessons.

Whichever way it lands, you may be suddenly confronted with the appearance of those few spare minutes before break, lunch or home-time!

It really is up to you:

There is no right and wrong approach here but perhaps an extra opportunity…here’s what I used to do; for me and for the children in my class I found it was beneficial.

  • It was a chance for quick revision questions – in other words across all subjects I used to select questions to ask the children that related to what we had covered.
  • Depending on how long we had, then I used to give for example, 5 questions before we go out…it made it seem like a challenge.
  • To push this a little further I made each question progressive in getting us out – so for example with 3 questions….1. to stand up behind our chairs – 2. to move to the door – 3. We go through the door and outside.
  • Variations can obviously be in the number of questions and so the number of stages. The number of attempts at a question before we move back a stage etc etc

The method you use is, to be honest, irrelevant – it is the feature of asking questions and of course revising work covered. Questions can be subject based or mixed or even general knowledge.

Here’s one that is slightly different


Come out to the front and draw one of the forces that will be acting on this boat – there are plenty and we need 3 to get outside for break!

You get the idea….

It is time well spent

If you think about it then it is time well spent. It’s not something that you need to plan for but it is an opportunity to revise and repeat information previously learned. Now you may think that in the 3 or 5 minutes that you have that this is not really productive – however,just look at the figures below:-

If you managed just 6 minutes a day (break and lunchtime)….perhaps 2 lots of 3 minutes

6 minutes a day = 30 minutes a week

30 minutes a week = 5 to 6 hours in a term

If you manage 10 minutes a day (break, lunchtime and home-time) then the figures look like this:-

10 minutes a day = 50 minutes a week

50 minutes a week = between 8 – 10 hours in a term

Now that’s a lot of time and potentially a lot of revised material in short bursts!

So there you have it – putting those spare few minutes to good use. It’s a great chance for a bit of revision, perhaps a little guidance and of course the repetition never did anyone any harm!

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