5min Lesson Fillers – Make It Nerdy!

February 8th, 2014 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in ICT Resources | Lesson Ideas

Being a specialist teacher in a primary school I often have to think about things in a different way. I only see the pupils for an hour a week, meaning behaviour management systems need to work in different way. Working with technology also means have ‘one of those lessons’ where NOTHING works! When this happens I like to think on my feet and usually, if it’s a full lesson, I’ll grab the iPads, or mess around with the Beebots. Then there are the occasions where it’s the last 10 mins of a lesson, where it seems pointless to set something up only to have to finish straight away. So here are a few 5 minute fillers I like to use in my ICT lessons.

Guess the tech

An important part of the curriculum is for pupils to understand the wider reach of technology and think about it out of the classroom. One activity I like to do is give pupils a real world problem or scenario, and they have to think of a piece of technology that could help. An example of this is, ‘I have 6 people coming for dinner on short notice….help!’. This week in year 5 they came up with a laptop to find recipes, iPod and dock for backing music, digital thermometer for check I don’t kill anyone, and a countdown timer app to make sure I don’t burn anything. Really fun little activity.

Software Solution

Very similar to the previous activity, but this one is based on the machines, rather than hands on technology. I would give the children a problem, or activity idea. They the have to think of the best bit of software for the job. E.g. ‘I have been asked to produce a new leaflet for the PTA, what should I use?’. Year 6 came up with some great ideas like Photoshop for editing any images, QR code generators to shame more info in the leaflet, and Publisher for the layout nd easy printing.


Padlet is a great little website where you can make interactive and collaborative learning walls in seconds. I have chattered previously about it here, and I love it. I know you technically need to have all your tech working for this, but it really is useful for a quick plenary. Load up a wall, share with the class, and get the pupils to share something they have learnt, or something they have improved at in the lesson.

Talk yourself up

Quick little Talk for Learning activity I have used in all sorts of lessons. Get pupils to share their improvements and achievements in the lesson with their talk partners. It is them up to their partner to listen, understand, and report back to the teacher. Really encourages pupils to take notice and appreciate the achievement of their peers.

Computing anagrams

After looking at the new curriculum plans for next year I found that the gov. tried to make themselves sound a little bit more important by making the easiest of tasks sound like rocket science. Filled with quite technical terminology for young children, it presents the problem of the pupils having to learn a whole new language. Quick anagrams of the terminology can be a fun little way for the pupils to get to grips with them.

Debug an algorithm

Sticking with the new curriculum, algorithms are key to the learning and progression of the pupils. Stick a set of instructions for a simple activity up on the board, throw in a few mistakes and get the pupils to debug and get it ship-shape age. Make sure you use the technical language in this activity though so that the pupils start using it too.

Expand the algorithm 

Another quick little twist is to get the pupils to take an algorithm and expand upon it. Throw in a few more steps to increase the complexity. With older pupils try and add a few different command prompts, or change the output your require. Always good fun if the algorithm you pick is something you can act out afterwards to see if it works,calling all robot teachers.

Clean and tidy

This one is just for the OCD nature within me. I hate how the kids fill their My Documents folders and never look at it for the full 6 years they are with us. Get them to spend 5 mins creating folders, moving files, and deleting any unwanted work. Sounds simple, but computer and file management is something that often gets missed in lessons, and is important when maintaining your computers.


Have a go and see what you think, most of these don’t have to stay in the ICT suite, adapt them and try them in any lesson.

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