Core scripture: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Message: I love March Madness. It is a month-long basketball euphoria for me. The Cinderella stories. The upsets. The buzzer beaters. You just can’t beat it, and there was one shot that epitomizes everything March Madness is about.
Kansas was down by three. Sherron Collins was barreling uncontrollably down the court. Only seconds remained. Falling down, he desperately flipped the ball to a streaking Mario Chalmers. Chalmers hoisted a three-pointer over the outstretched arm of Derrick Rose, and … SWISH! Kansas went on to defeat Memphis in overtime, rallying to win the 2008 National Championship.
Although that shot propelled Kansas to win, there were plenty of moments in the last few minutes of the game that were vital for the victory. Kansas actually trailed by double digits going into the last few minutes. I had the audacity to wander into the kitchen to make my lunch for the next day, almost giving up on my team. Luckily Kansas made use of the last two minutes!
This makes me wonder … Do I utilize all the moments I am blessed with in the classroom? Do I make use of every minute? Look at it this way … What would have happened if Kansas had blown off the last few minutes of their game? The outcome would have been much different! Much the same, teachers should be teaching bell to bell.
I admit there are those moments when my class is lining up at the door, waiting for the bell to ring. By the time it actually does ring, there is a stampede through my door. Ever been there? Yeah, it is not that pretty. It is time I ask myself what I can be doing with those last few minutes. Here are some applicable ideas to get the ball rolling …
- Teach character. Pick a character trait that you think your students would benefit from. Show a quick video or tell a personal story that relates to it. Allow discussion to overwhelm your classroom. Need some ideas? Check out the “CHARACTER LESSONS” tab at the top of my blog.
- Do a review activity. This is an easy one. You can partner kids up to have them discuss what was learned that day. You can even hold them accountable by telling students to share what they accomplished as they worked on a project.
- Connect with kids. Ask them about their activities. Share what goes on outside of the classroom. Talk about the latest March Madness game with your sports nuts. Ask your video gamers which game they will be grinding on. Students will love that you take interest in them!
- Share a brain teaser. It gets their brains whirling with curiosity. I wonder why I have not done any of these with my Cougar Time homeroom kids. I can think of five or six that would eat them up! I might even start today. No, check that … I WILL start this today!
- Play a game. This is weird, but I have found that my 7th graders LOVE playing silly games they used to play in elementary school. Simon Says. Heads Up Seven Up. It promotes class camaraderie, and who knows—it might even provide a laugh or two!
- Show a music video. Pick a school appropriate one that tells a story. Last week I played Brit Nicole’s “Gold” video for my Cougar Time and discussed how everyone is golden in their own way.
You have so much power in your hands when it comes to time. Utilize it! Seize the day. Make your classroom the conversation at the dinner table that evening. Pour into your students for the simple reason that God wants you to make a difference in the life of a child. Be that difference maker this week.
Challenge: Make use of every minute. Experiment with different ideas above, or even try your own original ideas. And, heck, why not reply to my blog here to share your ideas with others? The more ideas, the merrier.
Video application: This four-minute video makes me want to get 4th quarter started off on the right foot. It provides wonderful ideas for what you can do with those last few seconds of class.
Just for fun: So, I began the odyssey of coaching my 3rd grade son’s soccer team last night. One of the kids piped up that our team name should be the Potatoes. Another kid said it should be the Pickles. Amidst the chaos of the debate, I suggested we should combine forces to become the Pickle Potatoes. Cheers and jubilation erupted. One thought echoed in my mind as we left the field … Lord, what did I get myself into?
Prayer: Father, help me make use of every minute You bless me with throughout my day. Thank you for the time you give me with my students. Amen.