Grade: all
Subject: Games


Games, level: all
Posted Wed May 19 10:05:43 PDT 1999 by Colleen Gallagher (
Central Kitsap School, Silverdales

You need to be prepared for anything as a guest teacher and that means be prepared for no lessons or only a few lessons. I bring the below activities with me and I also have developed units to bring along. My goal is to keep the students busy all of the time. I f the students are busy: you are busy, the day goes faster, and the students have learned lots form you. Most importantly, the day was not a waste for you or the students!

Start the Day Off Smoothly

Subs move around from grade to grade and school to school and may not get a chance to get to know the students. It is important to start the day off on the right foot and get to know the students a bit before you jump into teacher mode! Take this list of questions found below with you to all jobs and write the questions on the board when you arrive. Then have each student answer the questions on a piece of paper. Finally, have all the students share their answers with you and the class.
What is your favorite animal?
What is your favorite color?
What's your favorite TV show?
What's you favorite song?
What's you favorite school subject?
What do you like to do in your free time?
Hopefully, this will give you a much better understanding of you students and will make the run smoothly!

Pick a Number
1.) Ask the class to take out a piece of paper.
2.) Tell them to pick a number between 1-10 and to write it on their paper and to cover their papers because you don't want to know what the number is.
3.) So that you can talk about their numbers you are going to assign it the letter value Z. Write Z on the board.
4.) Observe that their can be 10 different Z's in the room, one for every number from 1-10. Someone has probably chosen 3, 5, and 9. But so you can talk about the everyone's number, your letting Z stand for everyone's number.
5.) Tell the class to add nine to their Z.
6.) Next have them subtract, let's say... 5
7.) Continue with addition or subtraction combinations for at least three or four more numbers. For example; add 7, subtract 8, and add 4.
8.) You should be writing the individual steps as they occur on the board.
z 9
+9 -5
-5 4
+7 +7
-8 11
+4 -8
9.) Finally, have them subtract the original number they choose, their Z. Wait a sufficient amount of time, and then ask, "how many came up with seven."
10). Now the kids think you performed magic and want to know how you did it.

***See if they can figure it out. Repeat several times!
The Secret Add and subtract the numbers between the Z's. The number they pick (z) is cancelled out at the end when you ask for subtraction in the last step.
Try this several times before giving it to a class!!

A Subs Version of Pictionary
Write current movies, books, cartoon characters, and songs on slips of paper and place
them in a baggies. divide the class into two groups, and allow one student from Group 1 to come up. Hand him/her a slip of the pre-made ideas on it. Then have he/she go to the board and try to draw it. Allow either group to guess what their classmate is drawing.

Word Search
Pack some of these in your bag. They are easy to make at !
You can also make mazes here too.

More Great Ideas
Check out these ideas from Substitute Teachers from all over!! Just click


Word Wizards
Think of a word that has to do with something your students are learning or an up and coming holiday. Say the words are United States. Don't tell the class the word yet. First, break the class into groups of four and explain that you are going to give them a word or a phrase and they need to make as many words as they can using only the letters in the word you are going to give them. Write the word on the board and let them begin. After a predetermined time, have the groups turn in their paper. Check the papers and give the winning group a prize or privilege!!

Sparkle (Spelling)
I first learned this in a practicum at Streams Elementary School from a wonderful teacher named; Ginny Zemaitis. It is a pretty common game and most students have played it before. Still it works great! this is how it goes...
1. Have the students stand in a circle.
2. Pick a student to start.
3. Give the student a spelling word. Let's say, "teacher."
4. That student will say teacher and the next student will say, "T", and the next student will say, "E", and the next student will say, "A", and so on....
5. Finally a student will say "R" and the next student will say "sparkle" and sit down on the floor.
6. The next person will start the new word and it will go down the line in the same manner.
7. Repeat these steps until there is only one person standing - they are the winner!
NOTE: if a student says an incorrect letter during the game, they must sit down and the word is started again by the next person.

What State - Geography
1.) Display a large US map.
2.) Have the students line up behind it.
3.) The first two students should stand in front of the map.
4.) The teacher should then name a state.
5.) The first of the two students to point to it wins the round and remains standing.
6.) The next student in line replaces the player who then returns to the end of the line.

Where Have You Gone Vowel?
1.) Write several short vowel words on the board. Omit the vowels.
2.) Ask the class to think of vowels that would make the word complete.
3.) Have student volunteers come to the board to make the word complete.

Place - Value Scramble
1.) Write three #'s on the board.
2.) Ask students to rearrange the numerals to make the lowest possible number, the highest possible number, a number with the largest number in the tens place, and other, similar placements.
3.) Complete the activity by asking students to help you in arranging the resulting numbers in order.

Spelling Detectives
1.) Write the weekly spelling words in random order on the chalk board and tell the class to study the words carefully for one minuet.
2.) Tell the students to put their heads down - no looking!
3.) Erase one of the words and rewrite it - this time spell it wrong.
4.) As the class has their heads down say, "Oh my, something looks wrong - all spelling detectives raise your heads and see if you can tell me what word is not spelled correctly."
5.) After 30 seconds, call on a volunteer to tell you the word and how it should be spelled. If the child answers correctly reward the class a point. If the child does not answer correctly, identify the word and give yourself 1 point.
6.) Repeat Steps.

Math 7 up
Play 7 up but before the child guesses who picked them, they must answer a
math question.

Play Math Battleship

1.) Put a grid on the board 1-5 on the bottom and a-z along
the side.
2.) Secretly place battleships on your paper.
3.) have two children go to the board and play rock, scissors, paper and the winner gets to answer a math
problem. If he is right, he gets to put on X on the board and you let him
know if he hit your battleship. If he is wrong, the other child gets to try.