April 23, 2019 by Dr. Barber
Testing time is not just an opportunity for students to turn off and stop trying to learn more. It’s also an opportunity for teachers to say “Enough!” The problem is the same that teachers in the classroom face – engaging students and continuing to learn. We’ve finished the first day of End of Course Tests (which followed Pathways Testing and precedes AP, IB, and MAP testing at my high school). But our teachers are still engaging and learning and now, happily, laughing too.
My colleague (math teacher extraordinaire) and I decided to do a Teacher Scavenger Hunt after Spring Break to go through the big End of Course testing sessions. We need to do 3 things:
- Set a short time limit to keep engagement from waning.
- Find the right software product – easy to use, easy to access.
- Come up with a real (but small!) prize.
It turns out that we returned to an “old” product and revisited the updated version. Padlet allows up to three free Padlets which was perfect for our three-week time frame. A different hunt each week. Plus, part of their updated version was additional layout options like Shelf where I could line up the scavenger hunt in columns. The prizes came from some small gift cards I had and gave out. If you don’t have something yourself, get everyone to chip in $0.50 for the $10 gift card. You would be surprised how many will participate when you ask them.
Each Padlet had 4 questions but they were intended to make everyone have different answers for some. Two separate teachers asked me if a selfie of themselves was appropriate for the “hottest” thing. YES!! This is for fun! And I did, in fact, have people that had never tried my lessons, try this. The competition was fun even if the prize was small. And the excitement. In week 2, one of the columns asked for “Selfie with a teammate (You define your team in the title with your name)”. One person posted a picture of herself and her bottle of hand sanitizer (The Germ Busters). Even those who didn’t try to compete, went online to watch.
A couple of additional comments:
- Every week, the background changed in the hunt and so did the software’s features. We rated images one week and graded them another.
- When I did the first entry in each column (as an example), they started playing quicker than when I left it blank.
Keep it short and provide room for humor. Asking for the “hottest” thing got pictures of the hall where the air conditioner failed, flaming hot Cheetos, and a teapot, to name a few. The winners each week were chosen by random number generator from the list of participants.