Read a magazine, comic book or novel secretly. Pick a book or magazine that’s the same size as or smaller than your textbook, and hide it behind the book so you can see it. Remember to look up occasionally to see if your teacher is walking around and to pretend like you’re paying attention.
Learn to spin a pencil over your thumb. Use a smooth, weighted pen or pencil to start, and figure out how to balance it on your fingers. Then, hold the pencil between your thumb and pointer finger, and use your middle finger to push the pencil around your thumb. Be sure to catch it as it spins back around into your palm![
- This skill takes some practice, so it’s great for killing time in class.
- Beware that you’ll probably drop your pencil frequently when you’re first learning how to spin it. It may be best to only try this if you’re sitting near the back of the class!
Make a game out of the class with a friend. Entertain yourself by counting how many students are wearing a school sweatshirt, or try to guess which color car will drive by the window next. If you’re sitting by a friend, quietly make bets on what you think will happen. Try to keep your games lighthearted and fun. Remember to be polite and respectful to your classmates, especially if they’re paying attention and involved in the lesson.
Chew gum or eat a piece of hard candy. If your teacher allows food in class, pop a piece of gum or candy in when you start to get bored. This will give you something to do and can help keep you awake. You can even make a game by closing your eyes and trying to guess the flavor if you have a few different candy flavors.[
Tip: Eating sweet candy can give you a mini sugar rush, which will help you stay awake through the class.
Play with a computer or tablet if you’re allowed to. For computer-based lessons or advanced classes, you might be able to have a laptop or tablet to take notes and do exercises. During a boring class, pull up social media or open up a simple game, like Minesweeper or Snake, to keep yourself entertained. Remember that the people sitting around you will be able to see your screen, so avoid browsing on questionable sites.[
- If your school doesn’t allow laptops or tablets in class, be sure to keep yours out of sight. It’s very difficult to hide a tablet or laptop, and if you get caught, your teacher might confiscate it.
- Remember to turn the sound off on your tablet or laptop so you don’t disturb other students. If you’re in a computer class, ask your teacher if you’re able to wear headphones.
Text your friends secretly during class. This is a riskier move if your school doesn’t allow students to use phones during class. Try to keep your phone concealed by holding it under your desk, in your pocket, or behind a book. Stick to short messages that you can type quickly without looking, like “So bored in class.”[
Tip: In case your teacher comes around, make sure you have a place to hide your phone out of sight.
Do easy homework for another class. If you got assigned a simple worksheet for French class or a few easy math problems for Geometry, lay that work over your notes. Do your homework inconspicuously and quickly, and remember to look up sometimes to make it look like you’re taking notes for class.[
- If you’re worried about having your homework confiscated, ask your teacher if it’s okay to do the homework in their class. Some teachers might only allow this if you’ve already finished the lesson or work for their class that day.
Jot down a to-do list or a weekly schedule. If you have a lot going on in your classes, use boring class time to write a list of things you need to do to clear your mind. Try making a time-line of things to do for an upcoming project or a study schedule for your exams. You can make different lists for each of your classes or just make one longer list for all of your classes and activities.
- Making lists can encourage creativity and help get rid of anxiety about upcoming assignments or tests.
- Keep in mind that you can make lists about pretty much anything. If you want to make a list about your top 10 favorite movies or books, you can!
Use colored pencils or pens to doodle and decorate your notes. If you feel like you’ve taken a million notes and just can’t pay attention anymore, go back through and review your notes. Highlight important parts, underline information you need to know for a test, and draw pictures of important figures and ideas. When you look back over your notes to study, your doodles and markings can help you remember the information.
- This will keep you entertained and engaged with the lesson so you’re still doing a bit of studying!
- You can also draw geometric patterns, circles, or even random shapes in the margins of your notes. Most teachers won’t mind a little doodling since it keeps you occupied and you don’t disturb the class.
Write a short story in your notebook. Come up with a story about your favorite fictional character, your favorite celebrity, or even yourself! Keep your pen or pencil on the paper and let your thoughts roam free to write a short story. Remember to look up occasionally so that your teacher thinks you’re writing notes for class.[
Tip: If you enjoy writing, carry a separate notebook with you that’s just for short stories. Then, whenever you’re bored in class, you can pull out the notebook and pick up the plot where you left off!
Take very detailed notes to stay focused on the lesson. If you know what the teacher is talking about, the lesson will be much less boring. Print out the syllabus and, if they are available, any visual aids for the class. Use these and your textbook to help you take notes as your teacher speaks.[
- Remember to write down any questions that you might have about the lesson. You can ask your teacher for clarification at the end of the lesson or after class.
- You can structure your notes in whatever method works best for you. Whether it’s using bullet points, writing in shorthand, making headings and subheadings, or all of the above, you can make your notes work for you.
Making Your Notes Exciting
Use a pen that’s your favorite color.
Add bullet points to make lists of important information.
Draw pictures and charts of complex topics to make them easier to understand.
Type up your notes after class to review the information.
Listen carefully to the teacher and follow along with the lesson. Even if it’s not the most fascinating lesson, you may save yourself time on the homework or grief on the tests later. If you’re too bored or tired to take notes, simply watch the teacher while they talk or read along in the book.[
- If you have trouble paying attention in general, ask to be seated at the front of the classroom. That way, you’ll know the teacher can see you.
Participate in class discussion and ask questions. The time will pass much faster when you are engaged in the material. Ask about the assigned text and what you haven’t understood, or offer counterpoints to someone else’s opinion in class. Offer to volunteer in group work or demonstrations to show your teacher that you’re engaged in the lesson.
- When you need to ask a question, make eye contact with your teacher and raise your hand to let them know. Most teachers won’t be upset if you ask for clarification during the lesson, since they want their students to understand the material.
Use group work to talk to friends and classmates. In some classes, teachers will allow students to work in pairs or small groups on projects, worksheets, or even homework. Take time to talk to your classmates about the lesson, and ask them questions if you’re confused or lost. If you finish your work with extra time, you can talk about whatever you want![
- If you know a lot about the lesson topic, you can also try to help other students who might still be learning the information. This will help keep you engaged and interested in the topic.