Sunday, October 9, 2011

Comprehension Scavenger Hunt

Learning objective(s) using Bloom’s taxonomy:
Comprehension: Students will comprehend more thoroughly the historical timeline of the chapters they’ve read in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; they will comprehend more thoroughly how to post on blogs; they will comprehend more thoroughly how to effectively utilize online resources such as the Common Reading website.
Reflective Description, or How Did it Go?
The ESL reading course I teach meets only once a week for two hours. (It is attached to a writing course with a different instructor.) Because of the Jewish holiday, we had only met a total of four hours and it was clear that not everyone was onboard with the blog or the online glossary. I touched base with their writing teacher who, hired relatively right before the semester, was courageous enough to use the Common Reading in her class. I asked how students were responding to the text, what needed to be clarified, from her point of view, etc. As expected, some students were having an easier time than others.
I wanted to create a lesson that would allow students to review and clarify what they’d read already and help them become more facile with the online platforms--not just for posting, but also for helping with their reading comprehension. Since the Common Reading website had been recently launched, I designed an online “scavenger hunt” in which they had to find answers to questions on the Common Reading website’s historical timeline and post the answers in complete sentences on their blogs.
It was an easy enough (maybe even fun?) assignment that got students reading and writing in English. Most of them worked diligently and posted. (They’re so good!) It allowed me time to go around and help address students’ technical blog issues, their navigational issues, even their resistance-to-doing-anything-online issues.
I liked the assignment because students could engage with it on a range of levels. Some needed to have a more thorough comprehension of the book. Working with the timeline (and hopefully, knowing it is there) was helpful.
I had a few more things they needed to do after this assignment was completed, so there was no down time. If they didn’t totally finish, they would have had to do it for homework. This was decent enough incentive to stay focused. (I regret to say that I find this is necessary in a computer lab because the lure of other websites is too strong to resist. When I picture teaching in a computer lab, I now see students bouncing of the screens; before I used to see students diligently engaged. Ha!)
I would definitely do the online “scavenger hunt” again. It’s a great “beginning of the semester” exercise to familiarize students with the Web 2.0 platform(s) they’re utilizing for class, and for learning how to resource/navigate the Web 1.0 sites. I would just be sure to have something “next level” in place for those who finish quickly!


  1. A scavenger hunt sounds like a good concept to spur online research! I may borrow this idea for the ELL101 class I'm having difficulty with (in motivation).

  2. I did a great one today you'd love! I had them find things in their textbook. I'll blog about it later...