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Promote Mental Health with a School Wide Scavenger Hunt

 

A  Little Bit of Social and Academic Fun

Need a great idea for your next school wide climate day? Picture this scene. Kids working happily in pairs, contemplating where the next clue might lead them. They know there is a great reward when their hunt is done. Where are they? Summer camp? A birthday party? An outdoor adventure? A museum? No, they are blissfully at school.
How do we create such a secure, encouraging, and nurturing setting? How can we support the social and emotional learning (SEL) or endorsement for the mental health of all children in school? We know  that  social and emotional learning helps learners to be prepared, gain friendships and to learn about themselves. Kids need not only academic instruction, but must also be taken care of emotionally. Social and emotional approaches can reap so many benefits, especially in the prevention of children’s mental health problems.
  
   How can this be done?
     
One way is in the undertaking of school wide scavenger hunts. Teachers and counsellors can watch and make notes on how children are getting along. How are they being treated by others? How do they interact with others? Are they happy to be involved?

    How do school-wide scavenger hunts work?
   Each students can be given a checklist. When each task is achieved a volunteer or teacher signs or initial the learner’s checklist. Students can also be given one part of a puzzle or treasure map after finding a solution. The pieces need to be joined together. Once all checks or pieces have been collected, each student wins a prize. The prize might be from a wish list or something that is useful, like magnets, dominoes, art supplies, or even a grab bag of different items.
   
   Hints might be given by volunteers or aids on where each clue might be hidden. Students might work in pairs, trios or alone to solve problems, or find clues. The kids need not stay with the entire troupe for the whole time, They each have the freedom to work alone, or find other friends for their expedition.

   Does that mean we must give up on academics for a whole day?
  
   I think that once a month  or every other month might be nice for an amusing afternoon. Scavenger hunts can be a large undertaking, but if you have teams of teachers, and volunteers from the community that specialize in a topic, the process can be made simple. Sometimes, teachers or helpers might use the same clues from year to year. But, in general, it is nicer to have new ideas and components than used, or old ones.

   Where might we have an academic scavenger hunt for kids?
  
   If your school has a large gymnasium, or a lunch room, grade levels scavenger hunt could happen there, say for middle school kids. Another choice could be having stations in the hallways for certain grade levels.
   
   Otherwise, “the littles” or small children can be combined.  The 1st, 2nd or 3nd grade teachers can hide the clues in their classroom and have clue stations. The 1st grade kids enter their own and other 1st grade rooms for clues. The 2nd grade children enter their own and other 2nd grade rooms for clues, and so on. 
So, who makes up the academic clues? 
  
   The teachers and volunteers do, of course. A team of teachers could make interesting clues, but don’t forget music, art, physical education, Spanish, French or other language education in this pursuit. Clues should suit the academic needs of your students
 What about these stations?
   
  Station designs can be made with good old cardboard and paper mache (Papier Mâché). There are many wonderful design books. Once, one of my friend’s mother created a giant lady bug. I have made castles, (a large set for a play),  a small castle for reading, and a spindle. I am no artist! Kids could help build and design the stations before the event with the help of adults. 

   

How do we go about this?
  
   Sometimes, school teams can make up one theme and involve many subject matters. For example, let’s say that most of the kids are learning about Australia in social studies.  So, your theme is about Australia. Now think of a title for the scavenger event, such as, The Mysteries of Down Under. Some panels could research facts about Australia. Then each worker prepares a certain number of clues.  
   
  For example, math teachers could make math word problems for several grades. Social studies teachers could make a map of Australia and have students locate the places where certain peoples live, or work. Learners then answer questions to a short reading. Science for primary could have a station where small stuffed animals are hanging from a fake tree. A young learner could hold a koala as he or she listens to a recording or video about this marsupial. Then, he or she chooses a paper object, such as eucalyptus leaves, that relates to the koala.
   
   What does the teacher do doing the actual scavenger hunt event?
  
   First, there is limited structure or regulations beside usual reminders such as “no running in the hallways” or other safety concerns.The teacher’s, helpers, or guidance counselor’s role is to:

a.    give hints to clues
b.    provide other examples, if needed
c.    gauge students’ progress (make notes…how are they getting along? Is the student laughing and with friends, or mainly left alone?)
d.    assist in advancement (make notes…maybe pair up 2 or 3 kids not normally together to work and talk together)
e.    intercede as needed in group activities (switching up pairs at times, subject assistance)

  Lastly, have no doubts that each student can benefit from this event!

                               Best,

                               Lynn

  If your school has taken on this academic and mental health school adventure, please tell me of your experience. What worked out, what didn’t? If you have any questions, let me know! Contact Lynn

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References
  
Choff.com (n.d). Too cool for school? Organize a classroom scavenger hunt. Retrieved from http://www.chiff.com/a/scavenger-hunts-school.htm
  
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (January, 2008). Connecting social and emotional learning with mental health. Retrieved from       http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED505361.pdf


Gubi, A., & Bocanegra, J. (2015). Impact of the common core on social-emotional learning initiatives with diverse students. Contemporary School Psychology (Springer Science & Business Media B.V.), 19(2), 98. doi:10.1007/s40688-015-0045-y

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching (8th ed). Pearson Education, Inc.
  
Moesser, J. (July, 2016). Summer learning: How to make an educational treasure map. Retrieved    from http://momitforward.com/educational-scavenger-hunt/

 

 

 

A Middle Grade Treasure Hunt Series

The Hunt for the Well Hidden Treasure: K.I.D.S. Adventure Series

Written by Bob Sheard and Timothy Taylor

 

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El Cazador, a Spanish pirate, has just stolen The King’s Cross, but his ship is surrounded by cannon fire. Desperate to escape, he slips over the side of his ship, deserting the rest of his crew. As he makes his way to shore, he knows that the Mexican revolutionaries will soon be after him. The captain decides to bury the heavy chest.

Almost two hundred years later on September 15, 2013, the town of Knightsbridge, California is going wild with the news that skeletal remains of a notorious pirate have been found by hikers in a cavern. His leather journal lay nearby containing the details that he was returning to find a hidden treasure. Professional organizations and local treasure hunters are already hard at work seeking to discover the chest.

Will and his father have recently moved to Knightsbridge; Will has few friends. He is intelligent and clever and immediately becomes interested in treasure-hunting. When Mikey discovers Will’s research notes, he cannot wait to share them with his two best friends, Evelyn and Susan. Fate and mutual curiosity will throw all of them together into a partnership. The foursome will face challenges from international organizations, fellow students and entrepreneurs, but they will pool their intelligence, computer skills, and mechanical abilities to sort through all possibilities until they finally solve the mystery.

Will they find the treasure and become rich? Needless to say, the adventure leaves them determined to set up a detective agency to solve future mysteries and reward readers with lots of adventures. This book has a plot with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, the dialogue is authentic to middle grade students, and the characters appealing and well-developed. Targeted for ages eight through twelve, but written well enough for older teens as well. Detective story fans might just have a new series to follow.

Barbara Ann Mojica

Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID, Sea, Air & Space Museum COMING SOON!
WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com

HOP INTO A HUNT FOR TREASURE!

URQ Poster3

little-girl-reading-book 2Spring is here and it’s time to get hopping into a brand new hunt for treasure with our SPRING READING QUEST! When my kids were younger, I loved hiding those Kinder Surprise easter eggs all over the house. My daughter searched because she loved the outside of those eggs. She must take after her mom, because chocolate was motivating! My sons, however, were more motivated by the toy inside. They couldn’t care less about the chocolate cover, but were eager to see the treasure inside. No matter their motivation, they all loved the hunt!

When it comes to reading we are like that, too. We all have different tastes. Some of us love to solve a good mystery, while others like to learn about historical events while they journey with the characters through the pages of a great novel. Some of us prefer books that make us laugh, but others want to learn. Then there are other readers want to get lost in a world that is nothing like our own. That’s the wonderful thing about the SPRING READING QUEST. It’s a treasure hunt for readers of all different tastes!

In the SPRING READING QUEST you can explore many genres to find those that are perfectly suited to your reading taste. The quest is easy. It lets you explore  different reading genres by clicking on buttons. Through the quest, you will be led to find a whole treasure store of exciting new books to read!

Better yet, there are prizes to be won! The authors of the quest want to thank you for exploring so they’ve decided to award lucky winners with free books! To add a little more fun to the hunt, there’s also a MYSTERY GRAND PRIZE for anyone who can find all the letters in the quest, and put them together to solve the MYSTERY MESSAGE.

HINT: It makes a sentence.

Do you love a good treasure hunt? What are you waiting for? Get hopping, spring into action and enjoy the SPRING READING QUEST!

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Click on this bar to find out more about the GRAND MYSTERY PRIZE and START THE QUEST!

 

SOLVE THE MYSTERY MESSAGE TO TAKE THE TREASURE!

URQ Poster3What do pirates, explorers and children have in common?  They all love treasure hunts!

THE ULTIMATE READING QUEST  will end on April 20, at midnight. This is your chance to explore new books and authors, and to take home free prizes and books. Plus, one lucky winner, will  WIN THE GRAND PRIZE

MYSTERY  TREASURE! 

To enter your name for this SPECIAL TREASURE you must prove yourself worthy by collecting the 49 letters of a secret message!  Just by reading this post you already have two of the letters (A and B).

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Find the rest within the Quest, writing them down as you go. When you have all 49, unscramble them to decode the secret message. Enter the exact words of the message in the Mystery Prize Rafflecopter right here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As you’re searching for the letters, be sure to leave a comment for each and every  author. Not only will you get to chat with the amazing Quest authors, but each comment will earn you extra entries in the general QUEST PRIZE GIVEAWAY that includes OODLES OF FREE BOOKS FROM PARTICIPATING AUTHORS!   

What are you waiting for? Click this button to start collecting the rest of the letters. Then return to the start and enter to

TAKE THE TREASURE!

CLICK ON THE BUTTON TO START THE QUEST

jointhereadingquestsmall