resources / Teaching Ideas

3 Awesome Independent Activities You Can Grade During


Want some independent activities you can grade during? There’s no shame–we all need those days to catch up in order to keep healthy work-life boundaries. We’ve got you!

You know when grades are due or a unit has ended and you’re drowning in ungraded summative assessments? Yeah, I’ve been there. 

I worked for a district that was pretty against playing movies, so even if I had a cool analysis activity to go with it, it still wouldn’t fly. But, I really just needed some uninterrupted time to grade without having to do it at home. I am FIRM on work-life boundaries, so how can I combine learning, engagement, and an independent activity?

Easy. Digital Escape Rooms.

Below, I share my three favorite (which also happen to be Danielle’s 3 top-selling escape rooms). So, whether you’re looking for a great way to introduce Shakespeare or just need a day to catch up, you’ll find what you need below!

And if you’re new to using digital escape rooms in ELA and worried about using them, tons of research out there shows the benefits of them…but here’s one on their executive functioning skills!

3 Independent Activities You Can Grade During:

Introduction to The Odyssey Escape Room Cover 2

Students play as Telemachus, who wants to access his father’s legendary bow while he’s at sea.

⭐ Includes additional support for your ELL students and younger readers.
⭐ Designed to take 60-90 minutes
⭐ Covers Greek mythology, the characters in The Odyssey, and life and customs on Ithaca
⭐ Serves as the perfect introduction to The Odyssey unit

Learn more about this awesome resource at this blog post! Bonus: if you’re looking for a song pairing for your Odyssey unit, we’ve got you covered. 

Terminus is a four-part digital adventure series geared towards 8th and 9th-grade students who read below level and struggle with making inferences.

Students play as Rania, a teen who awoke from cryosleep and must solve the mystery of an mysterious outbreak to save herself and others.

Check out the video preview for a more in-depth look into Terminus!

Students play as Alex, a young actor trying to gain entry to Shakespeare’s company.

Present this as a paper or digital game to introduce…
⭐ The Globe Theatre
⭐ William Shakespeare’s Life
⭐ Elizabethan London

Key Elements:
⭐ Game (~45-60 minutes)
⭐ Elizabethan Fact Sheet
⭐ Research ideas
⭐ Quiz
⭐ Teacher’s Guide

Check out the video preview to learn more!

These 3 independent activities are PERFECT when you need your students SO engaged that you can chip away at the pile of things to do.

My students have done both Terminus and the Intro to Shakespeare…let me tell you, they asked for “more of these games.” How cool is that?!

Let me know if you’ve tried these out!

Happy teaching, friends 🙂