The first week of school was a whirlwind of setting expectations, helping new kids find their way around and getting to know names. I love this time of year but struggle sometimes how to get things started right. This is my 10th year teaching and my 6th in this same school. For the first time in a long time I get to teach all art. I have taught a combination of computer tech one trimester or period here or there along with art for the past several years. But this year we have a full-time computer teacher so that has been placed in her hands. I am a little sad, since I do like teaching that, but happy to focus on art for a change.
The first day kids stay with their morning class for several hours while the school citizenship program is taught and overall school expectations are set. In the afternoon, we have an all school pep assembly that sets school spirit for the fall sports. That leaves the middle of the day for kids to fly through their other 6 periods at a blinding pace of 15 minutes in each class. Since they have already been sitting listening to a lot of talking for the citizenship program, and I can barely begin anything in such a short time frame, I did something compleltely new this year. We started the year with a Scavenger Hunt! Better than me giving a tour of the room and the art centers, they had to go around looking at the posters and the centers to figure out some simple but important things! “Where are the scissors kept?” “In which center can you find the yarn?” and about 20 total questions. I told them they could help each other, look at anything in the room (but not to touch supplies yet) and they could ask me too if they needed help with finding something. The hunt was set up on a gameboard style worksheet that I found on the internet. (That link and my version I will add to this post at school next week!)
It was so fun and exciting for me to just stand back and watch as the kids explored the classroom. AND useful, as it came into play the very next day. “Teacher, Where are the scissors?” I am asked. “Remember where you found them during the scavenger hunt?” I answer. “OH, yes!” eyes gleaming as they dash to the main supply center. I am sure had I done my usual thing of walking around the room and pointing things out, they would have forgotten. The additional sensory clue of the kids actually walking around the room and finding the items themselves made a bigger impact. It was also the perfect short activity for that odd 15 minute class.
We have a high turn-over in our school too so I will have new kids complete this same hunt with a classmate when they join my class throughout the year.
I REALLY love when you do something new and it works so perfectly!