This is real fun, low-risk activity I’ve done with middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate students and they’ve all had a lot of fun with it. I use it when I’ve put the students into groups and want them to develop a sense of cohesiveness and build community amongst themselves. I don’t take credit for “inventing” this activity by any stretch of the imagination…I learned it during my time as an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and am pretty sure it’s a Tom Jackson activity.
Experience taught me… 1) Give one copy of the treasure hunt per group and make sure each group has space to work together without interference from other groups.
2) If you haven’t already, introduce the concept of shared responsibility. Students can rotate asking the questions and keeping track of the “points.”
3) When students ask about the points, you can make it seem like a big deal or leave it mysterious. It can make many groups more engaged if they think the points are attached to some reward. Spoiler Alert: The ultimate award is getting to know their teammates a bit better
4) The key point to make at the end, as you process the results, is how arbitrary the points seem to be. The process of learning was what was most important, not who had the most eyelets in their shoe versus the number of people in their family. A good point to make about the value of the work they do together…it’s not for the points, it’s for the learning together.
I wear several different hats throughout the year in a variety of positions and am very blessed to say I greatly enjoy it all. I take pride in my work and put forth my best effort in every undertaking. I'm always open to new opportunities. Here are some of the "hats" that I wear throughout the year...
First and foremost, I am a teacher. Currently, I am a Middle School Social Studies Teacher in the Elk River School District at Salk Middle School's STEM Magnet Program. I have received several teaching awards, the most recent being the 2022 Gilder Lehrman Minnesota Teacher of the Year. I was the 2016 National Council for the Social Studies Middle Grades Teacher of the Year, the 2015 Minnesota Council for the Social Studies Middle School Teacher of the Year and the 2014 National Teacher of the Year from the Magnet Schools of America. My other education related awards include a top ten finalist for 2013 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, a 2013 Normandy Scholar Institute and Minnesota History Day Teacher of Merit. I've been teaching continuously for the past 25 years with a third of that time in Minneapolis and the rest in ISD 728. In recent years, I have been honored to speak at several national and regional conferences about my social studies instruction. I am also an Adjunct Professor of education courses at higher education institutions including the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University and, St. Cloud State University and Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.
My company WriteOutdoors is a "catch-all" for all of my non-teaching work with writing, photography, videography, marketing, public relations, and seminar speaking. Please visit WriteOutdoors.com for more details. My writing appears regularly in numerous publications including Outdoor News, Star Tribune and Lake Country Journal. I have received awards for my writing and photography. I provide public relations services to several companies including Game Fair. My work includes feature and editorial writing, press releases, product photography, video-production and event coordination.
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