Treasure hunt day 2 + A thinking routine


This was the “going further” part of our treasure hunt learning experience.  I also wanted to introduce the Think-Pair-Share thinking routine.

I spread the treasure hunt learning experience over 2 days because I needed time to photocopy the treasure maps and because the excitement level was so high yesterday that we needed a little break before continuing!

In addition to the goal of helping students to develop collaboration skills, I wanted to give them ideas for ways that they can play at home or at school.  Towards this end, I wanted to guide the students in being able to organize their own treasure hunts, not just search for treasures I hide. And finally, I wanted to revisit the purpose of the treasure hunt: to build relationships while developing the skill of collaboration.


Photo: One of the treasures


Photo: Students use maps to hunt for the treasures that their classmates hid for them.

What we did:

Prep –
1. I made sure I had all of the treasures with names on them.
2. I made a bunch of photocopies of the classroom map.
3. I had an activity for half the class to do while I worked with the other half.

Note – Since the students were so excited about the treasures they created, I thought it would be best for them to find their own treasures (i.e. the treasures they made) rather than find a treasure made by someone else.  Here I explain how the students hid their classmates’ treasures.

Procedure –

1. Half the class did a numeracy activity at one table. I took the other half of the class to the carpet.
2. I showed the students the anchor chart from yesterday and reminded them how they worked and played together.
3. We reviewed the map that the students had made.  I asked the children one by one to pick a hiding spot in the classroom for a treasure. Once the child told me the hiding spot, I had him or her find it on the map and draw an X there. Then I gave the child one of the treasures belonging to a student in the other group to hide in that hiding spot.
4. I wrote the name of the person whose treasure it was on the map.  The “hider” took the map with them as they hid the treasure.
5. I repeated this with each child in my group.  It only took about 3 minutes.
6. I called the whole class to the carpet. The treasure “hiders” gave the students their treasure maps. As the “finders” discovered their treasures, the “hiders” and I cheered for them and complimented them.
7. We switched groups and repeated steps 1-6.

The class reflected by looking at projected photographs from the first day of the treasure hunt experience.  Then I quickly paired them with someone on the carpet.  (I have a method for pairing students quickly, but I won’t get into that here.)  I used gestures as I quickly described the procedure of Think-Pair-Share.  I asked the students what their favorite part of the treasure hunt was, what some of the things people were doing to build good relationships/friendships, and how they felt throughout the cooperative experience.  The partners did Think-Pair-Share for each of these 3 questions.


I was amazed at how well the students could read the classroom map!  One treasure “hider” placed an X over a table on the map and then hid the treasure under a different table.  I figured that the treasure “finder” would not read the map so carefully and did not correct her.  Well, lo and behold, the treasure “finder” WAS able to distinguish between the different tables on the map and asked why his treasure wasn’t where the X was!  I thought that was really impressive and showed a deep understanding of the map we had created.

The students did a great job of communicating positive feedback to one another as they found their treasures.  No one was picky about who hid something for whom; everyone was so open-minded and friendly.

In terms of the lesson plan, today was not as collaborative as yesterday was, but it was a successful 15-minute activity in which the students communicated kindly with each other and developed their sense of shape and space by using maps.

The think-pair-share thinking routine was of course difficult for the students who are just beginning to learn English.  Most of the children seemed to enjoy sharing their ideas with a partner and sharing out. Many students said making the treasure was their favorite part of the experience. They felt that sharing and taking turns in the line for art materials helped build good relationships/friendships. The students said they felt happy and excited throughout the experience.

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