Andre is a social studies teacher at a high school near Boulder, CO who is currently instructing on the French revolution. Even though he is happy with the amount of time he planned for the unit and the progress that has been made, routinely he has spare 5-10 minutes remaining at the end of the class with no planned activities.
He would like to find a way to use the time in an instructionally productive way that will help him when assessing the students' progress through the textbook. Reading each day includes 5 pages from the text, and there is a 50 question test that covers the whole of the French Revolution as the end of unit assessment. He wants to gauge progress over the next 3 weeks.
What activity can Andre do during the 5-10 minutes that will act as a formative assessment to inform future class periods. He would like to engage students by incorporating pair or group work as he spends a great deal of the class period in lecture.
I have had similar problems. The way I handled it was to assign a small task to a couple of students each class. At the end of the class (with the 10 minutes left) I will have a student present an answer ...
A discussion of an actual classroom situation to improve participation. Pro and con analysis of the solution.