Connection pays off…

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Last night I was part of two Twitter chats.  The first was #edtechchat.  It is an amazing chat about using technology in the classroom.  If you haven’t followed a twitter chat, you should.  You don’t have to contribute, just watch and learn.

The second chat I participated in last night was #msmathchat.  It is a great gathering of middle school math teachers from around the globe.  It was interesting to read how other teachers handled different situations.  Our topic last night was about how we handle lessons that we think are amazing but fall flat when the students get started.  During the course of one hour (typical chat length), there were many side conversations.  #msmathchat is sometimes difficult to follow because there are SO MANY math teachers wanting to connect.

It was on one such side conversation that I found a golden nugget.  We had begun sharing our go-to strategies.  We all have activities we can blend and merge to fit any topic.  They work for us.  They are our safety blankets.  I found a new blanket, the Scavenger Hunt.  I wish I could give someone credit.  I’ve been back through the chat archives (http://mathchats.pbworks.com/w/page/68161899/msMathChat ) and can’t find the person that first mentioned this beautiful phrase.

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This is how I adapted the idea.  I took questions from a practice worksheet and put them on the wall.  I then gave the students numbers to start on.  Now, to keep my students from bunching up at the same numbers I also gave them a sign (positive or negative).  Their sign told them whether to count up (+) or down (-).  So, a student with the number +7 would start at 7 and then move to 8.  A student with a -7 would start at 7 and move to 6, then 5 and so on.  When the student reached the last problem (say 15) they wrap around to the first problem.

The kids have to get up and FIND the problem.  Copy it onto their paper.  Go back to their desk and work out the problem before they can hunt for the next problem.  I was amazed how much engagement I had.  Students were excited to be able to find and complete all the questions in one class period.  I will be using this again.  After 23 years in the classroom, this proves even old dogs can hunt!

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7 thoughts on “Connection pays off…

  1. Yay! I also participated in the chat last night and found some great ideas in the side conversations. I love your take on the scavenger hunt–giving the students -/+ signs to keep the flow moving in the classroom. I’m going to steal it!

  2. My kids love these too! Sometimes I even make it self-checking by having the answers posted to lead them to their next problem. If they can’t find their answer, then they need to recheck their work. Students can start at different problems and work until they’ve done all of them. I use 10 problems and start 3 kids at each problem.

  3. #MSMathChat does get a bit chaotic sometimes. It’s hard to keep things linear when everyone is so excited about what they see and read. It warms my heart to be able to be a part of it and I’m so glad that you’ve joined us and are willing to share your successes!

    I’ve been thinking about doing a scavenger hunt for a while and I think this has decided me. I was thinking about having where they go next to be a “choose your own adventure” type thing.

    “If you got an answer of 14, go to question 2. If not, go to question 6.” Right answers would go to harder questions, wrong answers to easier ones.

    Or even something like “Whatever answer you got, divide by 2, add 3 and go to the question that corresponds to that number.”

    • I think the key to a successful scavenger hunt is knowing how the students find the next question. Several wanted to have the answer guide you to the next question, but I didn’t have that much time, so I put the questions around the room randomly.

      The #msmathchat has given me so much already and I’ve only followed it twice. I have to learn how to favorite more ideas because I lost some great links last night. I am grateful for the archives because I can go back and find it later.

      I am trying to bring in some others from my campus and district. It is a slow process but I am willing to keep at it.

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