As students began pouring into the school campus after the government removed the lockdown, life permeated every corridor and classroom. Laughter was infectious, and we reveled in it.
My teacher-brain began coming out of hibernation. It had been too long since I had taught on campus, and I wanted to experience teaching as I remembered it- fun and effective. While we were online, the emphasis was on ensuring students ‘got the picture’, rather than painting a rosy canvas full of inquiry and wondering. So while education continued online, it was a mere shadow of what we had dreamed of accomplishing.
Back on campus!
Now that I was back in action, I wanted the students to explore their surroundings again. Most of them hadn’t been to school in two years. My third graders were in the primary building for all their years at school and were suddenly thrust into an unknown environment- the secondary building. As we began to learn together again, I found myself planning an activity that should be a norm in the children’s lives, but they hadn’t experienced in ages-a scavenger hunt.
Since we explored onomatopoeia and interjections over the last week, I decided to merge fun and play.
Organizing the scavenger hunt
Firstly, I decided to have the scavenger hunt outdoors. There was something magical about being out in the sun with my students. It also gave me a lot of exciting hiding places for my items!
Secondly, I hid small cutouts with various onomatopoeia and interjections all over the school ground. There were cutouts for two teams, so I ensured that the circles were in two different colours.
After that, I created two teams of students. I had ten in my class, so there were five students in each group. I named the teams according to the colours I chose for the circles. For example, ‘blue team’ and ‘red team’. Students formed lines with their teammates behind them.
Lastly, I created a sheet with two columns labeled ‘onomatopoeia’ and ‘interjections’. I kept this sheet on the floor in an area central to the entire scavenger hunt.
The scavenger hunt ended up being a tag-team event. At the front of the row, the child ran to find a circle of the same color as the team’s name. Then, they read the word and ran to place it in the correct column in the sheet set in the central area. Once done, they had to tag in their teammate with an ‘elbow tap’. Whichever team found all the circles of their colour first won the scavenger hunt!
A great formative assessment
The children were delighted to be able to run amuck, screeching with excitement, egging their teammates on. As a not-so-silent observer, I was keenly aware of who was dithering before placing the circle in a specific column. I could see the confident ones, and those that flung the circles in a column, hoping that it would be right. This gave me insight into who needed more recapitulation and those who could could peer-mentor their friends.
A simple scavenger hunt not only brightened up our day with so much laughter and camaraderie but also ended up being an excellent formative assessment. To my surprise, my students requested me to develop a similar activity for math. So I’m sure you can imagine what my next blog post will be about!