I keep a list of themed websites that are easy-in easy-out for students. They must be activities that can be accomplished enjoyably in less than ten minutes. In the parlance, these are called “sponges”.
What exactly are sponge activities? The term, originally coined by Madeline Hunter, refers to an activity designed to produce learning during the time taken up by “administrivia.” They stem from Hunter’s teaching philosophy that there should be no wasted moments in her classroom.
Here’s my list, by topic:
- Desktop Wallpapers from National Geographic
- Games with high-frequency words
- Videos on reading, comprehension, phonics, sign language (similar to YouTube, but school-friendly)
- Web-based Mad Libs
- Dolch Flash Games
- Quick quizzes—how much do you know about geography?
- Another Geography game—Geonet
- Videos of historic events
- Kid’s Website on the US Government and History
- History Happens: Stories on Video
- Newspaper front pages from around the world—interactive
- When they were Young: A Photographic History of Children
- Road to Revolution Game
- A variety of Jeopardy topics, from Math to Science, organized by topic and grade
- Jeopardy games on Math and vocabulary
- Jeopardy, Hollywood Squares, Who Wants to be a Millionaire
For more of these sponge activities, click on Sponge Activities–Part II
Share any sponges you have that are popular What do you do during free time with students?
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.