Classroom Physical Activity Idea

Stand Up – Hand Up – Pair Up


Recommended by: Samantha Greenleaf, Reading Instructional Coach, Austin Independent School District, previous 5th grade reading and language arts teacher

Source: Kagan Publishing and Professional Development


  1. Verbally provide or write a prompt or question on the board.
  2. Ask students to put their hand up in the air and find a partner by giving another student a high five.
  3. Students are given an identifier for which partner will answer first (i.e., the shortest partner starts)
  4. Together, partners answer the prompt together.
  5. At the end, partners thank each other and high five again.
  6. Students find a new partner by putting their hand back in the air and finding someone new to high five.

Ms. Greenleaf likes this activity because it gives students the chance to talk to multiple people:

“I could even do this activity for one minute, and students would get to move around and talk to 2-3 people rather than turning to talk to one person next to them or raising their hands from their desks.”

Activity in Action – Civil Rights:

Ms. Greenleaf also shared details of how she has used this in her class:

If we were about to read something on civil rights, I could say ‘I want to know about a time when you felt like you weren’t included on something. I want you to stand up-hands up-pair up and talk to three people and tell them about that time and then sit down.’ I would have a timer on so if they didn’t talk to three people in that minute, they knew that when I’d count down, they’d have to sit back down.”