Got a few minutes of class time to fill?
Substitute teachers in particular have questions about how to fill a few minutes of class time. As I always say, a classroom with nothing to do can quickly erupt into chaos. You'd be surprised how rowdy a class can get just 10 minutes before dismissal, especially.
What I like to do is have a few brainteasers, short stories or puzzles on hand just to occupy students' minds for those few minutes until we transition to something else. Kids usually like things like that because they can be done orally as a class, and they're fun!
I found these License Plate Puzzles from Brain Candy, and all you have to do is print them out and save them for work in case you ever have the opportunity to use them in class. You can display your print out on those neat document cameras I love or, if the class doesn't have one, you can just copy the license plates on the board for all to see.
Essentially, these are just rebus puzzles in the form of vanity plates. See if students can figure out what the message is saying for each one.
If you have a few more minutes to fill, challenge students to create their own vanity plates on paper. You can even introduce it with a whole story about how they've just gotten their first car and they really want to make a statement with their vanity plates. Tell them they can only use letters and numbers, and no more than 6-7 spaces to create a message.
Cool way to exercise the brain!
Here is another list of vanity plate messages. Make sure they're school-appropriate. ;-)