The first day of school is always so exciting and the kids are eager to explore their new surroundings. As part of my first-day procedures, along with expectations and all the things I need to cover/explain, I like to do a scavenger hunt. This usually takes place during the last 20 minutes of the class period (we have 50 min periods) to help students become familiar with their new classroom, satisfy their curiosities, and burn off some of that energy.
While the students are completing the scavenger hunt, it really gives me a glimpse into the dynamics of each class. Some students like to work alone, some like to work with a partner, some are super focused and task driven, some students prioritize what they want to find first and make a plan, some students are more relaxed and let the answers find them as they walk around making quiet observations, some students pair up and find half of the items and share their information, some will trade answers for things they can’t find. It is really interesting to watch it unfold.
The scavenger hunt will continue into the first 10 minutes of the second class and then we will go over the answers. (If they don’t find all the answers, that is OK, it isn’t graded.) Each student checks their work, making corrections as needed. (This also gives me a good segway into talking about corrections – many students view corrections as something they did ‘wrong’ and I want them to view them as opportunities.) This will stay in their notebook and can be used for reference. There are always a few tricky ones that very few students have correct, for example, the outlets for the laptops are hanging from the ceiling on rolled up extension cords – we don’t use the wall outlets.
Just for fun, at the end, I have all the students stand up. We then determine who found the most items. If they have 5 or more correct, they stay standing, if not, they sit down. We continue until the last person is left standing for each class. I write their name on the board and write “Sally – 25”.
To view my version of Scavenger Hunt handout click on the image above or here (pdf)