5-Minute Energizers to Activate You and Your Students

We’re officially in the grind. I ask my teacher colleagues how they’re doing, and the standard response is a sigh: “I’m really looking forward to catching up on grading over the 3-day weekend,” “I’m counting down the days until Thanksgiving,” “I have 20 letters of recommendation to write” (sidebar – anyone else have this problem?).

If we’re feeling this way, our students are too! Here are super quick activities to inject energy back into your classroom:

Snap, Stomp, Clap (Partners)

  1. Each person counts off to 3, i.e. Person A: “1”, Person B: “2”, Person A: “3”, Person B: “1”, etc.
  2. When everyone gets the hang of it, try it again, but replace 1’s with a snap of the fingers (snap, 2, 3, snap, 2, 3, etc.)
  3. Do it again, but also replace 3’s with a stomp (snap, 2, stomp, snap, 2, stomp, etc.)
  4. Do it again, but also replace 2’s with a clap (snap, clap, stomp, snap, clap, stomp, etc.)

Gift Giving Game (Partners)

  1. Person A pantomimes giving a gift. It can be any size, shape, etc. as suggested by how that person gives it.
  2. Person B says, “Thank you for the ____ (improvised gift)!”
  3. Person A says, “You’re welcome! I knew you wanted it because ______ (improvised reason).”
  4. Then, Person B pantomimes giving a gift, and Person A accepts it! Keep it going for 2ish minutes, and debrief to hear fun or surprising gifts.

Thumb War (Class Circle)

  1. Everyone in the class should form a circle
  2. Lock hands with the people next to you in “thumb war” position. There may be some crossing arms / turning around – don’t worry, your kids will figure it out.
  3. Thumb war for 30 seconds!
  4. Then, raise hands in air, cheer “Yay,” and give a round of applause!

This last one is almost purely for fun. It was an ice breaker at a boot camp I attended, and the person facilitating was a behavioral science researcher. Her explanation was that touching another person for 30 seconds triggers the sympathetic and nervous systems, making us feel confident and happy. Well, it worked!

Taking a break helps us jump back into learning feeling refreshed! So, remember to relax, take care of yourself, and have fun with your students.


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