One of my colleagues uses a form called SPUNKI to get her students to respond to a piece of writing. Students write down something surprising, useful, new, knew it already, and interesting about a reading. This evening in class, I used that concept but adapted it to be an interactive class activity. Doing this activity will expose students to various perspectives and reactions to the reading that may highlight parts of it that they themselves had not noticed or thought about. It’s a great way to begin a classroom discussion about the reading.
- Give students a few sticky notes and ask them to write down reflections from the reading. You could do all of the SPUNKI categories from above or just choose some. I chose three for my class: surprising, puzzling, and interesting.
- Write some columns on the whiteboard and label them with each of the categories you chose to have them write about on sticky notes. If you want to keep this in the classroom for later use, you could put a poster paper on the wall and divide it into the categories and have students put their sticky notes there instead.
- Once students have prepared their sticky notes, have them stick them on the board or poster paper in the corresponding category.
- Next, have everyone walk around and read the other students’ sticky notes.
- (Optional) To extend this activity, you could use the sticky notes for various extension activities.
- Have each person choose their favorite sticky note. Put students into a discussion line and have them share with the partner in front of them the note they chose and why.
- You could make one of your categories “A question I have.” After students read all of the sticky notes, ask them to select a question. Then in groups students discuss the questions.
- Have students engage in a silent Socratic dialogue by having each student select a sticky note and put it at the top of a piece of paper. Next, have each student spend a few minutes writing a response to what the person wrote. After a few minutes, have students rotate the papers. Have the new person read the note and the response and then write their own thoughts and a question. Do this several times. To extend this, you could then post these around the room and have everyone read through them.
Note: my class is very small and several people were missing the day of this activity, so there aren’t too many sticky notes in this picture. Ideally, there would be a lot more for students to read.