Five minutes outside of a school may not seem like a lot of time, but to a teacher in a middle-school classroom, five minutes extra to accomplish something resourceful is a treasured, rare commodity. Five-minute activities can be used each morning to wake students' sleepy minds, prepare them for tests by learning memorization skills, or help them learn the art of focus and concentration.

Memory Minutes

Place 10 age-appropriate items on a table in front of the middle-school class. Allow the students to memorize the items for a few minutes. Place the items into a bag. Set the timer for five minutes. Instruct the students to write down the 10 items that were sitting on the table. This exercise assists students with memory-building, concentration and memory recall. When the timer goes off, place the items back on to the table for students to compare with their lists.

Quote of the Day

Write a quote each day on the board. Instruct the students to write the quote in their journals or agenda books, at the beginning of class time. Spend five minutes calling on various students, asking them what that quote means to them. Welcome an open class discussion. Instruct the students to write in their agendas what the quote means to them, personally. This allows you, the teacher, to learn about the students' personalities, and it encourages students to think about how they view the world.

Card Name Game

Write the names of your students on index cards. Place the cards together. Pass out the index cards or instruct the students to pull a card out of a basket. If a student gets her own name, she must pull again. Pass out a piece of candy with every index card. Once everyone has a name, set the timer for five minutes. Each student must say something positive about the student whose name appears on his card and then announce that person's name. The student then must take that student his piece of candy and return to his seat. This game promotes friendship, sharing and a positive learning environment within middle-school classrooms.

Free-writing

Allow your students to have a specific notebook that is directed toward the five minutes of free-writing time, in which the student knows he can write anything that is on his mind. Perhaps you may want to include a free-drawing segment on some days and have free writing on others, depending upon the day, as many students will request to draw during free writing. Free writing allows students to have a healthy outlet for their feelings, without fear of judgment or retribution.