Panther Plus One

Ideas and Suggestions for +1 Days



The goal of reorganizing a classroom into learning centers is to allow the teacher to provide quality instruction to a small group of students, while other students work productively, independently, and cooperatively in a variety of interconnected tasks at other activity centers. At scheduled times, students shift to a different center so that eventually all students have the opportunity to complete the tasks at every center.


  • Allows students to take charge of their own learning
  • Appeals to the social nature of middle school students (group activities)
  • Meets academic needs of individual students (differentiated activities and individual/small group meetings with the teacher)
  • Incorporates reading, writing, listening, and speaking


  • Teacher led (most important)
  • Independent reading with a purpose
  • Online interactive virtual labs
  • Read online magazines
  • View online videos
  • Webquests
  • Cellphone activities
  • Task cards
  • Card sorts / card matching games
  • Writer's workshop
  • Make graphic organizers (mind maps, Venn diagrams)
  • Vocabulary foldables
  • Puzzles and games involving logical thinking (patterns, sequences, etc.)
  • Maps, charts, timelines
  • Math manipulatives
  • File folder games/activities
  • Envelope games/activities
  • Activity menus
  • Quieter commercial games like Scrabble™, Upwords™, Wordigo™, Word Sweep™, Word Thief™, Quiddler™, Words Galore™, Boggle™
  • Noisier commercial games like Blurt, Buzz Word™, Scattorgories™, Outburst Jr. ™, Word Sense™, Nameits™, Smart Mouth™, A-Z Game™, Cranium Cadoo™, 25 Words or Less™,


  • Learning center activities should focus on material that students already know.
  • All materials that students will need to complete the required activities should be located in or near the center.
  • Center activities must be engaging.
  • A system of accountability should be inherent in each center activity.
  • Number or label centers clearly.
  • Include written instructions for all activities in each center.
  • Use a timer projected on a screen to signal students that it is time to rotate.


The Portal to Texas History
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Provide Optional Activities for “Go-Getters:
A great way to provide optional activities for students who want to excel is to simply put the code on the class assignment and let them follow it to the extension activity or question.

Add QR codes to math worksheets with video tutorials of how to solve the problems. Create your own videos or direct students to Khan Academy or student-created videos like Mathtrain.
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Using Make Beliefs Comix: Tutorial for English language learners.

iFake Text - Create Fake Text Message Exchanges In Your Classroom


Practicing Voice


Other ideas:

  • Students could write conversations between two book characters from a scene in a story
  • Students could write conversations between two historic figures
  • Two students have a conversation (with one explaining how to solve a math problem)
  • Use to display vocabulary and definitions in a fun way
  • Use for writing prompts
2-Minute Tech:

Tabletop Twitter

This is a great way for students to interact with each other in writing. All students get to participate at the same time and it gives them a chance to voice their thoughts to each other. On top of that, it is a quiet activity and who couldn't use a quiet activity that gets everyone participating?

Take a short passage from a book, glue it to a large piece of bulletin board paper. The selection is key to getting the most interaction from your students. The selection should be something that evokes emotion or thinking from your students so they will be motivated to write down their thoughts about it. Set a timer and there is no talking - only moving around to read what each other writes and responding back to each other. A teacher can work with a small group and have a couple of Tabletop Twitters going at the same time. Students can move back and forth between the Tabletop Twitters and tweet away,

from Conversations in Literacy

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Classroom Learning With Jenga Blocks

Educational Ways to Use Jenga in the Classroom


  • Basic math operations
  • Graphing practice (write ordered pairs on blocks, place a graph next to it for players to plot points)
  • Solve system of equations (write singular equations on blocks, players pull two and solve)
  • Solve for a variable
  • Math Vocabulary


  • Vocabulary
  • Rhyming words (pull a block and say a rhyming word)
  • Antonyms
  • Synonyms
  • Homophones


  • Vocabulary
  • Pair with a labeling worksheet that is numbered (example: a plant worksheet with labeled parts)
  • Identifying elements


Students can choose the subject they would like to play. As they increase in all types of knowledge, there is the added bonus of helping people in need. Free Rice subjects include art (famous paintings), chemistry (chemical symbols), English grammar, geography (world capitals), language learning (French, German, Italian, Spanish), math (multiplication), and of course…vocabulary!

Free rice is an incredible place for students to practice facts for a wide range of subject areas. Students can click on a speaker next to a word to hear it read to them and can change the level of difficulty manually!

How to integrate Free Rice into the classroom:

It is the perfect place to send your students for fact practice. Whether they are learning a new language, or need some practice with their multiplication facts Free Rice is a great place to practice.

Freerice - not your average trivia game!

human tic-tac-toe review

  1. You need nine chairs set up in three rows, like a toc-tac-toe grid.
  2. Divide the class into 2 teams, X's and O's.
  3. Just like in regular tic-tac-toe, the X's and O's alternate, except they sit in the chairs instead of drawing it out on paper.
  4. Ask each team a question (can be trivia, or use their weekly spelling words or French vocabulary or math equation - anything they are working on in class).
  5. The students must raise their hand to answer. (you may call one person from each team to the front to be asked question or ask it to the group as a whole)
  6. If they are correct, then they get to sit on one of the chairs. The first team to get three in a row, diagonally, vertically or horizontally, wins. (You may have them hold up "x" or "O" sign or make it with their hands.)

TIP: Have your students take a number

Avoid being inundated with questions while you’re working with another student or students in a small group. Have students take a numbered clothespin, etc., and encourage them to keep working while they're waiting.

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Discovery Education