Level of Blooms: remembering, applying and a bit of analysing and evaluating!
How I used this strategy in the classroom + examples: As Easter approached, we took on the task of setting up an Easter egg hunt for our 17 students. It’s something that always happened at the other campus (a farm site) and used to be a “whole school” activity. Numbers of students, supervision needs and transport limits meant that for the first time the Easter egg hunt for the older students (aged 14-17) would be at their newer, more modern campus. This gave me some issues to mull over:
– how do we hide them when every space is in eye sight of every other space?
– how do we avoid conflict or an altercation if they are searching in small, enclosed areas full of potentially breakable things?
– how do we make it fair for those who may find the noise overwhelming or opt out part way through?
In the end, I settled on a scavenger hunt.
I divided all the Easter eggs up separately into sandwich bags (equal allocations) and then had 1st, 2nd and 3rd extra prizes for those who finished the hunt quickest. In the 15 min break before the hunt, a staff member snuck around blu-tacking “animal tokens” like the one below into specific locations.
Students had to follow different clues to get one of each of the 5 animal tokens. Clues were randomly allocated by coordinating staff and given out one at a time so we only ever had a few students searching in each spot. We also had specific staff whose job was to monitor interactions and assist if students were becoming agitated or distressed.
Clues included self-written classics like:
CLUE D (location was under the whiteboard tables):
You can write on me but I’m not a board
I’m also not paper, rest assured
I’m flat and not shaped like a bubble
You can tag these without getting in trouble
CLUE B (location was next to the dead strawberry plant):
I’m in a bed, but it’s not one you sleep in
I could be red if I wasn’t dead
My overall thoughts on the scavenger hunt: I’ve only been working in a trauma support environment for 4 months now and I still consider myself an absolute newbie. Even in that short time I have learnt that anything which changes the status quo or standard routine can cause ENORMOUS issues. Read back to my post about the marshmallows….When you remove the routine, students become heightened and are then unable to regulate themselves which can cause big issues. The tricky part is to try and balance this understanding with valuable and authentic real life experiences that will help them move beyond a supported learning environment.
This particular scavenger hunt ran really smoothly, despite my worries. My final thoughts were:
- It was much better than a free for all egg hunt as there were control elements in place and students had structures to follow. We were able to pair some students with staff and also keep some separated from each other which helped manage the heightened states of a few young people in a calm, unobtrusive way
- Non-participants or those who opted out (which was only one in the end!) still felt included and valued as they got treats at the end as well as an Easter hug or high-5
- It turned out to be an amazing literacy activity (unexpected side benefit for me, the English teacher) and it allowed those who may not always shine in their written work but have excellent creative thinking skills to “show off”.
- We had one minor student escalation and because we had been careful to have extra staff around and specific roles allocated to supporting the students, it was quickly managed and the young person was supported to make good choices
- A student who rarely speaks with staff and is often negative about all school activities really got into the hunt, asked to keep his tokens and chatted for the whole 30 min bus ride home about better clues he could have come up with!