Next year, our middle school is switching from 42 minute class periods to 55 mins each. For all 10 years of my teaching career, I've been planning for 42 minutes - this will be a big change for me! 13 additional minutes may not seem like a lot, but these are 8th graders we're talking about! Last year, I introduced "math labs" - about twice a month, which the kids seemed to like. I incorporated some hands-on activities, and I switched lab groups every month. (Roller coaster math, a dream-house design activity...those were their favorites.) If more labs are incorporated I will definitely need some more ideas for activities (pre-algebra and algebra stuff.) I teach pre-algebra and geometry to 8th graders. The extra time in geom doesn't concern me as much, because it's an advanced class and they always had questions when we worked on proofs. There were many things I would have liked to do with them but we never seemed to have enough time. However... with the pre-algebra kids I don't want to introduce too many new topics in one day. But I want them busy, busy, busy, with a variety of things in math class. I don't like to do direct note-taking instruction for more than 15-20 minutes - they are 8th graders, for crying out loud! Mixing things up has always worked for me. So please help me with my mixing! Thanks in advance for any suggestions!