Teachers; I need sponge activities

I’m teaching German and am having trouble coming up with fun and quickly implemented sponge activities to do if lessons run short. Any ideas?

Sponge activities? First time hearing that term.

You can always go with word bingo. You come up with five categories (verbs, classroom objects, two-letter words, food and drink, etc.) that run across a five-by-five grid. Students list five examples of each going down the grid and then you call out examples with the student who gets five in a row being declared the winner. This is nice since it doesn’t require any in-depth preparation on your part.

Similar to this is to give the categories and then choose a starting letter and students must list one example of each of the categories that starts with that letter. (You have to ensure that the letters you use provide at least one example that you’ve already taught to your students.) Here the goal is to simply review vocabulary. You should put up a scale with 23 - 25 examples = excellent; 19 - 22= very good; 15 - 18 = good and so on.

Hangman -in the target language of course. Have a student come up with a word allow them to lead the class.

You can have a relay race with your students in which you divide the class into two teams and then provide them with a category that has a lot of examples of words that you have taught to them. Arm each team with a piece of chalk or dry erase marker and then they race up to the board, write down an example from that category and then race back to their team to pass the marker off to the next kid who runs up to the board and writes a different response.

I have more but let me know if any of these would fit into your teaching style.

What age group are you teaching, and how physically active do you want the activities to be?

My Russian teacher used to make really basic crosswords for us (each word crossed another once, or twice at the most) and we actually looked forward to them. To make it easier, write the clues in English.

Counting games are fun – like zip zap zop. You sit in a circle count around the circle.
When a number that is a multiple of 4 comes up, you say Zip instead of the number and change directions on the circle.
When a number that is a multiple of 7 comes up, you say Zap instead of the number and change direction on the circle
When a number that is a multiple of 11 comes up you say Zop instead of the number and change direction

Whoever makes a mistake is eliminated.

My kids love hangman, which has already been mentioned.

I have a ball under my desk and will give the kids a verb, and then I’ll say the person, toss the ball to someone, and s/he has to conjugate it correctly. Like, I’ll say “to have…we”, throw, and the kid has to say “have”. They enjoy this more than you might think. I think it’s the possibility that I might miss the ball when they throw it back to me.

We play around the world sometimes. I have flashcards with the English alphabet (this one may not be so great for you, but my students’ first alphabet is Cyrillic so they need practice), hold them up for two kids and whoever says the letter first moves over, and then you hold up the next card to the previous “winner” and the next kid. Whoever is standing at the end gets a sticker as a prize. We play this with numbers, too. They seriously love this game.

Simon Says is good.

There are websites out there that will make crossword puzzles for you, if you’re prepared, you can make a crossword using words that you’ve been learning.

I cut out pictures of animals and whatever I think is useful from magazines (National Geographic is good for this) and paste them to stiff paper to make flashcards. This is really useful for visual learners.

I can think of only one activity that is “sponge worthy” - watching Sienfeld dubbed into German :slight_smile: I wonder what they call the Soup Nazi?

I’ll second hangman.

I’ve also taken to starting all my lessons by asking “who is hungry? who is thirsty? who is cold? who is hot? who is sick?” The kids really like that I acknowledge how they are feeling, it gives us a place to start talking, and it seems to get the kids in a good "headspace’ for class no matter how they are feeling.

Keep them coming Kyla- I teach one round of English (older high school) and heck if I know what to do with them…

This one may work better for advanced students.

There’s a game we played a couple times with my favorite teacher. She gave us a word. We had to associate another word and explain why - in English. And another word, and another… we filled the whole blackboard twice in one hour. The way we played, the association could go through another language (most commonly Spanish, but we also used Latin and Catalan). For example:

original word: red
next word: net
why? Red, in English, is a color. But the Spanish word red means net.

The following word could be web, or fish, or computer…

When I was in Spanish I & II we’d play Teléfono (Telephone) when we had extra time at the end of class. Of course after a few messages being like “El pero de Holly es un Puerto Recan homosexual” our teacher didn’t want us to play much any more.

This reminds me, I got this from another volunteer recently. I’ll come up with a question, and ask it of one kid. S/he has to answer and ask the kid sitting next to him/her. We go around the room. This has revealed some intriguing gaps in my students’ knowledge, which is very useful. (For instance, turns out my 5th graders don’t know the numbers past 10. How has this happened? I have no idea. My 3rd graders can count to 100. Anyway, now we’re working on it.)

Another one I’ve remembered.

You need to have pictures fo well-known people handy, but that can be as easy as picking the local “heart rags” before going to class. Stick the pictures onto pieces of cardboard so they’re not transparent (or use a picture frame).

A student picks up a picture at random and has to describe the person; other students have to guess who it is. The student who wins gets the next picture. It can also be done as a game of 20 questions.

Shortest description ever: “with shoulders like those, it’s a pity she’s not her brother”

Princess Stephanie of Monaco