Using Non-Instruction Times to Instruct

Using non-instruction times to..instruct...what?!
I know, I seems crazy. There are a couple things you can do throughout the day that keeps your kiddos on their toes, and in some cases quiet!

Let me tell you about some things in my classroom and building.
This is my math review section of my dry erase board. I have it divided into 3 pieces. The top part is for our fact of the day, required in our building. The middle part is review from the week before's skills. The bottom is using the math vocabulary for the week, also required in our building.

So when do I use this? When my kiddos are lining up to go somewhere, like specials or lunch. When they line up, I start talking about the fact and call on students in line to answer the questions. This keeps my class quiet, engaged, and acts as literally a minute review as we transition. I change it every day.

This is a large window at the end of my hallway, right next to the bathroom, that at least 4 classrooms use. So about 100 students see this window many times during the day. At first glance, you may not see anything but a winter view. Look again! A 4th grade teacher wrote the factors for 24 on the window.
That same 4th grade teacher taped vocabulary posters on the inside of the bathroom stalls. This took the students by surprise, HAHA!
One day a couple weeks ago, I had a couple students come back from using the restroom and they said, "Miss J, someone wrote on the bathroom mirrors!" I quickly sighed, because we have had an issue this year of writing in the bathrooms. They said, "There's like...math problems!" I was confused, so I walked down to the restroom and started laughing! I went across the hall and asked the teacher if she wrote on the bathroom mirror, and she said "No, but Mr. B did!" I had to explain to my kiddos that it was a teacher who did the writing! He had measured the lengths of the mirror and wrote out equations to find the perimeter and area of the mirror. After talking to him about his shenanigans, he asked what we were working on in 3rd grade, and the next thing I know, he's writing equivalent fractions!

Do you have some surprising ways to get your kiddos thinking?


  1. I absolutely love the ideas of using bathroom walls- how can you NOT read what's there?!?

  2. What creative thinking!! I'm going to have to use some of these ideas! :o)
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