The younger the student, the shorter their attention span. That's why it's important to use shorter lessons and switch it up more throughout the day when you have younger minds.
This exercise tackles two subjects at once- vocabulary and writing. You can use it as a break between two subjects to ease the students into a new mind-frame, and it's wonderful when your lesson runs faster than you scheduled for and you're left with ten or fifteen minutes before the next bell.
Creative Vocab Writing
Write or print at least 2 dozen words on strips of paper and put them in a hat or box. Use words that are slightly above their grade level. If need be have a quick vocabulary lesson.
Have the students pick 3 words from the hat.
Set a timer and instruct the students to write a short story using all of the chosen words.
If you have time, have the students read their stories out loud. It's interesting to see how varied their imaginations are and the different types of stories they create!
For an extra challenge, you can set a theme such as action, humor, or sci-fi.
Ten to 15 minutes is a perfect amount of time for this exercise. The students will learn the meaning of the words and cement them into memory with the real world use of writing a short story using all three words.