Do you have a like/dislike kind of feeling towards holiday celebration activities throughout the school year? Every time they come around, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, Harmony Day or even Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, it takes some effort to get students to stay focused on the curriculum while also accommodating these holiday-themed activities into the classroom.
Well, I have discovered one way where subtle learning can take place even in the midst of celebration frenzy and excitement – via fact-based Scavenger Hunts. These Hunts could be just about for any subject.
So for instance, you can have students learn all about how Christmas is celebrated around the world by having them go on a scavenger hunt for fun and interesting facts
or how the Chinese celebrate their new year
or even about the strange and interesting traditions celebrated around the world to bring in the New Year.
Technology always seems to fascinate kids and having a hunt that has QR codes to scan is indeed a winner.
Quoting from personal experience, my students have so much fun with these hunts that they don’t even realize/realise they are assimilating important information – that’s the charm of subtle learning!
So in other words, a great way to convey complex, otherwise mundane content, is through fun and exciting Scavenger Hunts that provide an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning.
So how does a holiday celebration scavenger hunt work?
Well, first and foremost, prior to having the students go on a hunt, the teacher needs to engage the students in a 5-7 minute warm-up activity whereby a brief introduction is provided on the subject in focus. Rules are explained, difficult terminology is targeted, and a subsequent activity is kept ready for early finishers.
Then students armed with their recording sheets go on the hunt. They have to find the corresponding fact cards to answer the questions on their recording sheet.
This entails careful reading of the fact cards and consequently comprehending the information on each one – now isn’t that some much needed reading practice coming into play.
I find this application of reading skills particularly beneficial to my students who are reading challenged – in that, content information is presented in manageable chunks so to speak.
The skill of decoding, reading and comprehending is still at work – but with snippets of text. Talk about the ideal way to set a child up for success!
You can also add an element of competitiveness to this activity by having students work in groups and rewarding the team that finishes the Hunt first or even set a time limit.
Kids love the excitement of competing – all in good fun.
The best part is that learning is happening subtly, although outwardly – it seems to be all fun and games, students are consciously/subconsciously acquring information.
Time permitting, we do several scavenger hunts from this holiday celebration collection throughout the year.
So if you would like your students to try a hunt from this collection, then this April Fool’s Day freebie is for you! Witness first hand the fun, excitement and yes – learning it generates.
This post first appeared on teach2tell.blogspot.com.