Anchor Activities (or Sponge Activities) are designed for students to work on either immediately at the beginning of class time or after their class work has been completed, so that their instructional time is maximized. These activities are intended to review or extend learning of the subject matter, not to be busy-work. Activities may be designed for students to complete independently or in small groups.
You may choose to assign particular students to particular tasks or to allow them to choose, when appropriate. All tasks should be relevant to the concepts being developed in class, but some may be more complex than others; there are times when students need the opportunity to do something that is low-stress and less demanding.
Anchor Activity Ideas:
- “Don’t Waste a Minute” – Education World Article
- “Best Practices: Anchor Activities” (Regina Public Schools, Saskatchewan, Canada)
- Draw a picture to represent a concept recently studied (a map, a model, a diagram, etc.)
- Build a 3-D model using Play-Doh
- Math facts, Spelling, Vocabulary, Matching
- Use blank, printable business cards to make your own, or have students make them
Ideas for Prompts:
- What questions do you currently have about _________?
- Write 3 sentences describing what you learned about _______ this week.
Creative Writing Related to Content:
- What would have happened if Christopher Colmbus had landed on Antarctica instead of in the Caribbean?
- What would happen if a volcano erupted with chocolate instead of lava?
- Try to write three sentences without using the letter “i”
Opinion Related to Content:
- Which biome would you prefer to live in? Why?
- Was ________ right to do what he/she did at/in __________?
- Which part of this unit so far have you liked the best?
- FunBrain – Math and other Games (for younger and middle level students)
- Starfall – For beginning readers
- Brain Pop – Learning Activities for Math, Health, Science, Technology, English, and Social Studies
- Zoomerang – Create quizzes for students to take on-line
- Daily Dose of the Web – Daily Questions, Problems and Quizzes (Comprehensive List of Links for All Subject Areas and Grade Levels)
- Discovery School’s Brain Boosters – Organized by Thinking Skills
- “Hink Pinks” and other Word Play – Education World
- Give each student one or more sticky notes. Have them write one fact or characteristic of a topic of study on each sticky note (ie. George Washington, the Coriolis Effect, a story recently read in class). Have students put sticky notes on a board and then work in small groups to organize the notes into clusters or rows of similar ideas. Notes can be revisited after the lesson to add or adapt based on new knowledge.
- Post 2-3 questions on the board. Have students respond in a journal. Answers can be revised after lessons and/or submitted to the teacher.
- Have students respond to a question on the board on a sticky note or index card that are then submitted to the teacher immediately. This allows the teacher to get a immediate sense of how well the class understands/remembers the information.
- Have students respond to a more complicated question on the board by discussing possible answers with a neighbor or preassigned partner. Then discuss as a whole class once class begins.
- Allow students to choose (ie. may be recreational reading)
- Assign reading, possibly 2-3 paragraphs from a chapter in the text (review or new information to be discuss further in class)
- Consider using a tool that measures text complexity to make sure the material students are given to read is at a level they can each successfully read independently
- Crossword puzzles or word searches using content-related vocabulary
- Create puzzles using online resources such as Puzzlemaker from Discovery Education