The snack time decibels were steadily climbing in my classroom. Initially, I started reading aloud as a way to turn down my students’ volume. We read Roald Dahl books and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and The Hundred Dresses. There was no other time in the day to squeeze in a read-aloud during the busy content-filled schedule, so the arrangement was perfect. Over time, my lessons from math might overflow into snack, or I might conduct a mini-lesson for the upcoming writing prompt, or prep them on a science experiment.
For a rowdy class on a crunched time-table, “Fun Learning Snack Time” worked wonders to calm, educate, and entertain my raucous bunch.Here are some suggestions of things to do during snack time that are fun and incorporate fundamentals of curriculum content.
1. Squeeze in a Read-Aloud
Most students are dying for a read-aloud (even in the upper grades). If you do choose to read a chapter book during read aloud, keep the read alouds consistent so that you can finish the novel before moving on to other snack-time choices.Need suggestions of what to read? Try…Roald Dahl, Gary Paulsen, Judy Blume, Narnia Series, Harry Potter Series (you brave, long-winded soul), or Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
2. Cheat. Check out a Book-on-CD
Need to get a few things done during snack time? Check out a Book-on-CD from your local or school library and pop it in to be heard in installments during snack. If you have a document camera, assign a student to keep the book open to the correct place so that students can read along.
3. Use BrainPop videos to extend learning
Try BrainPop or BrainPopJr. Both require subscriptions, but there are several free videos if you are not wanting to pay an enrollment fee.
4. Watch Science Videos
Try Science Bob, Weird Science Videos, ZoomSci from PBS Kids, or try searching YouTube for Magic School Bus shows or Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes.
5. Catch up on Current Events
Dogo News for Kids posts a Video of the Week (dating back to 2007, so there are tons!). Flocabulary produces a song/video called Week in Rap that summarizes the week’s current events. (It looks like they have started requiring a subscription, but there is a 2-week free trial if you are interested in adding it to your curriculum.)
6. Enlist a Storyteller
Here are a few to get you started– free and online. Donna Washington, Zinger Tales, Mike Lockett
7. Grammar mini-lessonsNot enough time to fit in grammar? Schedule a snack-time grammar mini-lesson once a week. (Maybe try your hand at using comics to teach with Pixton.com.)
8. Reward with a YouTube video on Fridays
Towards the end of the year– when you are running out of effective positive reinforcement “carrots” to dangle– try writing Y-O-U-T-U-B-E in a corner of your white board. When your class’s behavior is unacceptable, erase a letter. When it deserves praise, add letters back. If you have the full word “YouTube” on your board by the end of the week (or a pre-determined number of letters remaining), then reward them with a YouTube Video. We recommend that you choose to show them some amazing human feat. Try inspiring videos like the Tempest FreeRunning Academy, Danny MacAskill 1 and Danny MacAskill 2, or Dan Osman.