Saturday, February 8, 2014

Black History Month QR Code Scavenger Hunt

I may be slightly hooked on QR Codes. I find them so friendly to use in the classroom! I like how they eliminate the wasted time of typing URL's and put the focus on actually using the content. I've been intrigued with the idea of a QR Code Scavenger Hunt so I decided to try it out as an activity for Digital Learning Day. With February being Black History Month I decided to focus the hunt on learning what Black history Month is and how it came to be as well as highlight some important African Americans.

I searched the web for appropriate videos and content about Black History Month and famous African Americans for my elementary students. Then I created a QR code using to take them directly to the information. I created a doc that included a title or name of the famous American, a picture, and an essential question that the students needed to answer after they viewed or read the information. I found that the EQ really helped set a purpose for the task and kept the students focused on the task. After students visited the website then they responded with a tweet or completed an online quiz at The culminating activity had students write a blog sharing what they learned  about Black History Month and how it originated.  I also had them express their opinion about celebrating Black History Month on their individual blogs.

Here are some pix of the students at work completing the hunt. When the lesson ended they asked when we were doing our next hunt! Lesson success!

You can purchase this Scavenger Hunt at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store for $2.

When Do You Plan?

Planning is critical in teaching. In order for a lesson to be successful it must be well thought out.  But, well thought out lessons take time. Lots of time. As an elementary teacher I plan lessons for reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and RtI. That's 6 separate lessons each day and that is not accounting for my differentiated lessons where I have at least three separate lessons in reading and math in order to meet all my students needs.

In the perfect world all my planning would be done during the planning time allotted during my day. However, I obviously don't live in the perfect world because I never seem to have time to plan during this time. I'm busy emailing parents, copying papers, grading work, or organizing materials for the next lessons. IF I'm lucky I can sneak in a bathroom break.

So Saturday is usually my planning day, when I don't have a gymnastics or swim meet for my own kiddos, then it's Sunday if I do. I usually start first thing in the morning and easily put in 4-5 hours getting planned for the following week. It seems like it has been this way forever.

But, I'm curious how other teachers get it done.
  1. Do you actually plan during your "planning time" at school? If so, how do you manage all the other "stuff"? 
  2. If you don't do it during "planning time", when DO you plan?
  3. How far in advance do you plan? One week? A month? Day-by-day?

Inquiring minds want to know!