Classroom Sponge Activities for 5th & 6th Graders

Classroom management can be enhanced by sponge activities.
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Classroom sponge activities for fifth and sixth graders are used to engage students in preparation for the lesson or to fill unexpected extra time during class by "soaking up" the extra minutes with a fun, educational activity. Choosing just the right sponge activity can help to get students in the right frame of mind for school work or facilitate the upcoming lesson. Teachers can choose sponge activities that focus on specific content, such as math or English, or they can choose activities that focus more on enhancing their students' critical and creative thinking skills.

1 Get As Close As You Can

A great sponge activity for fifth and sixth grade math, promoted on Scholastic's website, is called "get as close as you can." This game has the students practice using a variety of math operations. Put a number on the board, and then ask student volunteers to provide several additional numbers. Students are then allowed to use any of the extra numbers, along with any math operation they know, to get as close as they can to the first number, but they can only use each number one time.

2 Twenty Questions

Twenty questions is a great sponge activity for encouraging critical thinking skills. In this activity, an object is either placed in a box or imagined, and students ask non-yes-or-no questions until someone guesses the object in the box or until 20 questions have been asked. This activity helps the students learn to quickly think of and ask relevant questions to get to the answer in time. The activity can be played with teacher-selected objects for quick preparation or with objects provided by students.

3 Round Robin Story Time

In "Round Robin Story Time," the teacher begins by writing a beginning sentence to a story on the board. She then tosses a stuffed animal or other soft object to a student who must come up with the next sentence in the story before tossing the object to another student, who must do the same. The process continues until an original story is created by the class. This sponge activity helps students practice their creativity and their understanding of narrative structure as they create the story together.

4 Vocabulary Bingo

Using vocabulary bingo as a sponge activity incorporates an element of competition and requires the students to access prior learning. The teacher develops bingo cards using vocabulary words, instead of numbers. She then reads the definition of the words, as students cross out the words they recognize. Once they have five words crossed out (diagonally, vertically or horizontally), they indicate "bingo" and then must provide the definition to each word in the row in order to receive a prize.

Katherine Bradley began writing in 2006. Her education and leadership articles have been published on, Montessori Leadership Online and the Georgia Educational Researcher. Bradley completed a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer University in 2009.