New-to-supply teacher Keith kindly agreed to write a review for KS3 Time Fillers and KS4 Time Fillers after using them for the first few times...
"This is my second placement at a secondary school as a supply teacher. I have given the pupils the task that has been set for them and they are progressing well. However, I do not think it is going to be enough to keep them occupied until the end of the lesson. I reach into my bag for "Time Fillers - Essential Resources for Supply Teachers."
These are two documents, one aimed at Key Stage 3 and one at Key Stage 4. They provide ideas to cover a range of activities and can prove useful, particularly if you are not a specialist in the subject you have been asked to cover. Subjects included are English, Maths, Science, MFL, Humanities, Art, and Design as well as Drama. Some cross-curricula ideas are included as well.
The activities in the documents are described as being 5-10 minute activities. I think that some of these will take longer and can also be developed into something that will occupy more of a lesson, if necessary. They are not a substitute for a full lesson though. If absolutely needed you would have to bolt several activities together.
I have made use of the documents in a couple of ways. On first receiving them I read through the pages and considered which activities I thought that I would be most comfortable with, especially those that were outside of my own teaching area. I also thought that I could develop some of these ideas into a fuller piece of work. I am a great believer in the thought that a blank piece of paper is the most difficult to fill. Give me a basic idea and I can expand and adapt.
The second way I have used "Time Fillers" is as an emergency activity. I have needed activities, particularly for the more able learners , when they have completed the task set much more quickly than others in the class. I know that there is no point moving them onto the next topic in the textbook as that will probably be the subject of the next lesson. Mind maps and posters allow for some differentiation.
I think that we could all have sat down and, given time, put these documents together. I do not think that there is anything earth-shattering about them. They are not big documents. However, time is a luxury that we do not always have, either in writing and preparing ideas "just in case" or having to read veritable tomes on being a supply teacher. This is true particularly when new to supply teaching and the placement is short term..."