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After School Detention Activities

Updated February 21, 2017

Let's face it: nobody likes detention. Students particularly despise it, and teachers aren't exactly thrilled about having to stay late, either. That's why it's important to do something constructive with those couple of hours after school. By coming up with detention activities, teachers can make sure students are productive, while encouraging them to exhibit positive behaviours in school.

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Requiring students to do their homework during detention is a common activity. This allows students the ability to finish their homework for the evening before they get home from school. It is a productive, quiet way to pass the time in detention. Some teachers may even be able to check students' work to make sure they are on the right track. Doing homework during detention eliminates the potential for socialisation, because it keeps kids focused.

Educational Games

Another after school detention activity is to play educational games. Teachers can create crossword, word search, scrambles, and sudoku puzzles with educational clues and terms in them. Game sheets can be handed out to students to complete during the time of their detention. If there are many students in the detention room, teachers might want to consider assigning teams and having the multiple teams compete to see who can finish the games first. This is an interactive activity, which has the potential to get rowdy.


Cleaning is a productive after school detention activity for students. Tidying up the classroom, organising the bookshelves, cleaning the dry erase board, and picking up garbage from the floor can teach kids their lesson about the penalties of misbehaving. According to an August 2008 article in The Boston Globe Magazine, psychological studies have shown that cleaning up after another person's mess forces you to pay closer attention to your own behaviours as they relate to cleanliness, littering, hygiene, etc. Cleaning is a tiring activity, while providing students with some personal insight on how they feel toward having to clean up after others. On an up note for the teacher, the classroom will be spic and span afterward.


Another activity that students can partake in during detention is that of journaling. Journaling requires students to talk about what they did wrong, what they learnt from their mistakes, and why they shouldn't make the same mistake in the future. According to a 2005 article by Lewis and Clarke College, psychologists have determined that journaling has positive effects on the human psyche. At the end of detention, students can take their journals home with them.

Research Essays

To keep students quiet while providing an educational lesson for them, teachers may instruct students to conduct research and write an essay on their findings. Research topics may be chosen by the teacher, and may or may not be relevant to class subjects. Students will be required to turn their essays in at the end of detention.

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About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.

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