Oh the "blah" day. As teachers, we all have them. You're exhausted. You can't focus. Class starts in twenty minutes and you still don't know what you're doing with the kids. The reasons one might have for this "blah" day are infinite. Today, mine has to do with hunting. Because of hunting, I didn't get home until 8:30 last night. And by the time my deer was in the garage and we were unpacked and showered, I was so exhausted it was bedtime.
I came into school early today, but despite my 9 hours of sleep last night, I was still exhausted. I remembered that I had planned on lesson planning last night to get ready for today, so I was in a bind. My husband's "easy fix" suggestion was "have them watch a movie". No dear, I can't just pop in any old movie. When I DO use movies, I use them to supplement what we're learning and I create worksheets or activities for it.
I needed something that had them practicing what they were learning, but something that I could plan in under twenty minutes. It also had to be pretty hands off for me because I was desperately behind in grading and I had told the kids that their grades would be updated at 8:00 last night (note to self, don't ever make promises that need to be accomplished between hunting and school the next day). It then hit me to have THEM create a crossword puzzle for another classmate to complete. Not only are they practicing their own chosen vocabulary, then they have to be "quizzed" by another classmate on it as well. Between having them make those and going over the homework that was assigned Friday, it took up the whole hour. I just had to print off a prompt and some empty grids and they were able to get to work.
This is something that is so simple and can work in any subject. Whenever you are having a "blah" day and feel extremely stuck, have the kids create a puzzle of some kind for them to exchange. It gives them the opportunity to be creative as well as practice their vocabulary.