Fillers—or sponge activities—use the time between lessons on activities in a fun yet educational way. These short activities absorb the short bits of time that occur throughout the school day. Several suggested classroom fillers are included below.
- Keep fillers related to academic work, but fun and simple, too.
- Use fillers when there are only 5 to 15 minutes left in the period or at the end of the day.
- Use fillers for rainy or snowy day schedules, when the students have to stay inside during recess and lunch.
Around the World
Around the World is a whole-class game where students answer questions or give answers for flash cards. They work their way through the group to get “around the world.”
- Students stand behind their seats.
- Choose a starting person and the rotation to be used.
- The first student in the rotation stands beside the second student in the rotation at the second student’s seat.
- The teacher holds up a flash card.
- The first student of the pair to answer correctly moves to stand beside the next student in the rotation.
- The student who did not answer remains where he or she is.
- This continues until at least one student makes it completely “around the world” (around the entire rotation or class).
- An alternate setup is for students to stand in a circle, and the student who answers correctly moves to stand behind the next student in the rotation.
- This activity works well with vocabulary, math facts, picture cards for foreign language learning, and other content-based material.
This is classic bingo with an educational twist.
- Print a blank bingo card for each student.
- Provide a list of items to be entered on the bingo cards, such as a range of numbers, vocabulary words, or pictures of items.
- List more items than can fit on the cards so that each student’s card will be different.
- Students fill out their own cards from the list provided.
- Read the problem or definition out loud.
- Students cover a correct answer with a bingo chip.
- The game continues until someone gets a complete row across, down, or diagonally and can shout out “Bingo!”
- Choose items by using a set of flash cards to randomly select math facts, picture cards for vocabulary, lists of spelling words, definition cards for vocabulary, or lists of synonyms and antonyms.
Students can play the classic I Spy game in a version that has an educational purpose. There are many variations of this basic game that can be used in the classroom.
- “Spy” an object.
- Say “I spy something ... ,” where you complete the sentence with a clue to help students guess the object.
- Use the game to teach colors, shapes, and sizes. For example, “spy” right angles in the classroom after teaching the concept in math.
- Identify items around the classroom when teaching basic vocabulary to ESL (English as a Second Language) students.
- Develop a group of items to be “spied” by having students write down item names or draw pictures of items on small sheets of paper.
- Divide students into teams to play the game as a friendly competition.
- Play the game with a goal in mind, such as cleaning up scraps on the floor after an art project.