By: Dr. Gregory W. Betts
Educators are responsible for covering critical information and often at a fairly quick pace. With the demands of covering state and district standards along with other curriculum, it can be hard to find time for additional review and practice of prior learnings. Additionally, instructional time might be lost each school day due to activities, transitions, assemblies, weather distraction, etc. Sponge activities allow for this extra practice without carving out a large amount of time in the day. Madeline Hunter’s 1982 Mastery Teaching book describes sponge activities as ... “learning activities that “sop up” precious time that otherwise would be lost. Sponge activities give students practice in reviewing or applying past learning while they’re waiting for students to arrive, while materials are being passed or collected, while roll is being taken, or during any other “administrivial” matters. Sponges are quick, engaging activities that when used effectively become beneficial to the success of the student. They also can help ensure that every student is receiving the maximum amount of available time to learn. The best sponge activities are academically rich and engage all learners. Many sponge activities involve students working with partners, in groups, or as a whole class. There are many different sponge activities out there and many are very easy to implement. They can be a simple or complex task, but they will always be beneficial to students’ learning. Jessica Boschen has created a list of 80 sponge activities that might work for you (Jessica is not affiliated with WCS) or visit UCSD to view their top sponge activities.
Original Sponge content can be found in Chapter 14 (page 116) of the 2004 Mastery Teaching Edition or pages 92/93 of the 1982 Mastery Teaching edition.
(Linked by Permission from Jessica Boschen) https://www.whatihavelearnedteaching.com/80-sponge-activities/
Hunter, M. C. (1982). Mastery teaching. El Segundo, CA: TIP Publications.
Hunter, Robin (2004). Madeline Hunter’s mastery teaching: Increasing instructional effectiveness in elementary and secondary schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press