"Can we do something FUN today?"
As we approach summer lots of the students have the same question on their lips, "Can we do something fun today?" Firstly, ALL my lessons are fun! And after we've discussed this for a few minutes, I establish that what they want to do is something easy. Something that doesn't require effort. Something that's going to lead to a lack of learning that lesson. In all seriousness, many of my lessons do include bingo, a pair/group activity or a game (which I maintain are all fun!) but it's hard to argue this point when students arrive at my lesson having watched a video somewhere else. Now if your school allows you videos, Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land is available in three parts on YouTube and is simply awesome. It explores the golden ratio, Pythagoras, the maths behind billiards and music, amongst other topics.
Quite often, if you give students something out of the ordinary they will feel you have gone partway towards meeting them at 'fun'. Due to my small classroom, most of my lessons involve students staying in their seats, so a treasure hunt where they have to solve questions around the room is instantly slightly exciting. There are loads here ready to use.
Investigations and projects are also different, although your students may find it hard depending on how independent they are used to being. Because of the nature of the SOL, I often do a statistical investigation at the end of the year. Students decide on their topic, hypothesis, sample size, questionnaire and then ask family and friends. Several lessons can be spent analysing the data and it's an easy way to incorporate ICT too.
Tarsia jigsaws are another readily prepared resource that can be a bit different. Why not print them one per A4 page and move the desks to one side so students work on the floor? Or take them outside with mini whiteboards? They'll still have to show their working and learn new content but it'll be very different to doing it at a desk.
It's about this time of year that I start thinking about some new displays for my classroom. Consider getting students to produce this work - give them a structure so they don't spend 45 minutes drawing and colouring in the title though! Again, Tarsia jigsaws are great for this, or any other matching activity. It will require your students to recap and consolidate, whilst letting them use felt tip pens to write key facts/formulae around the edges of their posters.
A quiz is another great activity. The easiest way to make one of these is to cut and paste an exam paper appropriate for your students. However, there are many readily prepared on TES. I've used this one by alutwyche several times. The key to quizzes is ensuring that every team member has a job so all students are engaged - a scribe, a reader and a runner are just some of the roles you could use. I hope this has given you a few ideas. If you try any, let me know how they go! I'd love to see pictures too.