So, here’s my dirty little secret: I secretly envy those teachers who have perfectly straight rows, neatly arranged rooms with nothing out of place, and really quiet students. These are the kind of teachers who are strict disciplinarians…the kind of teachers whose kids don’t even breathe without permission. Sometimes I wish, even if only for a day, I could be one of those people. I might even daydream about military style behavior and a quiet-as-a-pin-drop room, but that’s not me, and that’s not my room. It’s way too difficult to establish the military-style regime, and it is way to hard to be a witch all day long. It takes so much more energy to be negative, or to be overbearing.
In my room, we yell. We get so bent out of shape about what we’re reading that we debate; we reason; we get excited (but we do not yell at the children). In my room, we laugh. We laugh to forget; we laugh at how difficult some questions are; we laugh at comedic works (and at difficult works when we don’t understand them, or at texts with Freudian slips); we laugh at a crazy lady teacher. In my room, we sometimes get “off task.” Students inquire, and we use those moments to teach about real life (you know…the kind that’s not standards-based).
In my room, we have fun.
Fun is not a four letter word. This week I made a QR code scavenger hunt to help students learn about Shakespeare, his time period, and The Globe Theatre. You can read my other post about QR Codes, but here is a very simple step-by-step method for creating a QR Code Scavenger Hunt:
1. Know your topic and identify what kind of factual knowledge you want your students to learn about.
2. Find your resources online.
3. Write a note-taking guide / question prompts for each fact or source. I number my guide according to each resource, so students find source 2 to answer question 2, find source 14 to answer question 14, etc. I like using a variety of articles, videos, interactive websites, infographics, pictures, etc.
4. Generate QR Codes for each source and number them in a word document. Put one on each page. I use Go QR Me because it’s free and easy to use!
5. Make copies.
6. Find a place to do your scavenger hunt. I use the hallways in my school, but you could do one outside or in a media center or even in a classroom. Post your QR code stations…aka hide them!
7. During class, give out your note-taking guide and set forth rules and expectations (see my suggested rules list below). I used groups of three, and each group received a school iPad, and it worked out where each group also had at least one smart phone. I told mine that if I received any complaint about any team from a teacher or administrator that I would deduct ten points per incident from their grade, but I never had the first discipline issue because they were so engaged.
8. Make them find each station, scan the QR code, and figure out the answer to each question prompt using the note-taking guide. Like I said, I correspond the question number to the station number.
9. The first team to get all the answers right and meet at a designated spot wins. (I had mine turn them in to my student teacher.) I’m not one of those kind of people who think that competition is bad or everyone should get a prize. Competition is fun, real-world based, and only one team gets a prize. Our winners received Chick-fil-a biscuits.
10. Have a debriefing session and discuss what they’ve learned today. I took my students’ papers from them to see what they remembered, and I was really impressed to see what all they had learned.
This type of activity is so much fun, and can easily be adapted to any subject or grade level. It is also very engaging for kinesthetic learners.
Suggested Scavenger Hunt Rules:
1. No running.
2. The whole team must stay together at all times.
3. No yelling in the hallway.
4. Talk only to your own team.
5. Be kind to your technology.
6. The first team finished wit the most correct answers, wins!