Scavenger Hunts with Google

PRIOR TO THE SESSION

Today I tried something quite new (what a surprise!) and it was also quite complex. After reading Stephanie Perretta’s blog about Creating Self-Checking Scavenger Hunts with Google, I gave it a go myself. Stephanie has set up the resources for a first-timer so beautifully – thanks, Stephanie. Her instructions are so detailed that, for once, I had to read through something in a systematic way in order to accurately replicate the process.

Since we’re studying the Order of Operations (AKA BIDMAS, BODMAS, PEDMAS, BIMDAS etc.) and it’s a fairly linear process, I decided to create my scavenger hunt around this topic. I also wanted to add more than YouTube clips for remediation, too – this required some trouble shooting as I also wanted to use PlayPosit and Brainpop.

QR treasure hunt 2
A student completing a Brainpop PEDMAS game.

Setting it up was quite a process and, for once, I knew I actually had to test it myself as there were so many variables in play. Luckily, I did as there were a few aspects that didn’t quite “add up”.

However, not everything went exactly to plan but I’m a life-long learner with a growth mindset. Thus, I reflect on my experiences and work out how I can improve them next time;)

JUST BEFORE THE DAY

I set the QR codes in place the afternoon before –  ready for our lesson after recess on the following day. Then, at about 2.45pm the day before, a student came up to me saying “I found this QR code on the ground.” Annoying. I then had to search through the classroom to find where it may have been missing from.

JUDGEMENT DAY

I had prepped the students about the scavenger hunt just prior to the session. After recess, the first thing I did was provide students with a rubric and ask them to self-assess their knowledge of each aspect so far. I then asked the students to add a Chrome extension – The QR Code Extension – via an announcement on our Google Classroom page. Following this, students were free to scan in the QR code (strategically placed on the back of the rubric) and complete the first quiz.

QR treasure hunt
A student scanning a QR Code to go to the next quiz.

Here’s where things got a bit crazy. I didn’t consider that from that point at least half the class would be going to one site (the next question) and the rest would be going to the second site (the remediation for Q1). This had many students waiting around and also resulted in QR codes going missing.

We troubled-shot (?) through this quite quickly though and then we were off. There were a couple of other speed-humps though that I’ll navigate more carefully next time:

  1. Students neglected to actually press ‘Submit’ and therefore, they got confused and just started following friends around.
  2. Students neglected to return QR codes to their hiding place which meant that QR codes went missing.
  3. Some students didn’t watch the remediation videos which meant that they just re-did the final quiz until they finally chose the correct option rather than learning how to do it accurately.
  4. I neglected to mention that PEDMAS, BODMAS and BIDMAS are all the same thing which confused students.
QR treasure hunt3
Students remediating with Khan Academy clips.

WHAT WILL I DO TOMORROW?

I’m going to start our Maths session explicitly teaching BIDMAS (order of operations). Then students will pick-up where they left off in the scavenger hunt.

On Wednesday, we’ll debrief the whole process in our class meeting so we can make it better for everyone next time.

Thanks again, Stephanie Perretta, who inspired me to think outside the box.

Google My Maps and Comprehension

We all struggle to implement Professional Development learnings into our current practice. This year, I’ve been determined to integrate what I’ve loved from PD sessions as soon as possible… next-day possible… if that’s possible.

At a recent Google summit, I had the pleasure of being in a workshop in which we learnt about Google My Maps. In Google My Maps, you, as the teacher, is able to create a base map and share it with your class. At our school, we have embarked on using Google Classroom which makes our sharing pretty problem-free.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 1.39.33 pm

‘What would one even use this for?’ I hear you ask.

We’ve been reading a text called The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaardner. It’s an amazingly deep and thoroughly researched narrative in which the characters travel back in time from Oslo to Bethlehem. This is a perfect example of how students can use their comprehension skills to plot out the movements of the characters via Google My Maps.

I started by reading the text aloud and having students notate the direct references to places and times. I then modelled how to plot these places on Google My Maps. Following this, I created a series of layers; one for each reading group for them to add their locations and information.

Map with Layers

Once groups were competent at plotting direct information, we were then able to use our inferencing skills to look deeper into the text. Notice this excerpt from the text:

As they ran, they looked down on a cluster of red timber houses that Epheriel explained was a town called Kungalv. “That means ‘Kings Rock’ and the town was given that name because the Scandinavian kings used to meet here to counsel together. One of them was Sigurd Jorsalfar,” said the angel. “Jorsalfar means the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and Sigurd was given that name because he had been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where Jesus was born.”

To fully comprehend this piece of text, students must understand the following:

  • Kunglav is a cluster of red houses
  • Kunglav means ‘kings rock’
  • Jorsalfar means ‘pilgrimage’ and that’s how Sigurd Jorsalfar got his name
  • Sigurd was a Scandinavian king who met at Kunglav
  • This is significant because the group are making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Throughout the text, there are also examples of having to piece together separate sections of text in order to fully form the meaning.

In the next reading session, groups not only had to plot the places on the map, but they needed to use their comprehension to write information about the place from the text.

In this image, you can see that a description of the place and a couple of images have been added.
In this image, you can see that a description of the place and a couple of images have been added.

Next, I plan for students to conduct some pre-research about some of the history before reading their excerpt.