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Hands-On Option For The ELA Classroom

Scroll to the end for a Free Download of our hands-on activity for the ELA classroom

It is no secret that many kids and teens find their English class boring. Half the time they don't like the reading material teachers have scrounged up. The other half of the time the students can't read well enough to truly comprehend the material, leading to a devout hatred of the class.

As English teachers, we work hard poring over materials, stressing over activities, and still we must suffer students huffing and puffing over the assignments. But one thing is true, kids love to play games and they love a hands on approach to English class.

Over the years many curriculum specialists have focused on how to make math and science classes more interesting and fun. It began with the concept of makers spaces or other fun hands-on projects to help kids understand standards and concepts. Yet, English teachers are still working with the same model of "read this and answer these questions". Why can't we have a more "hands-on" approach to English?

That's a trick question. We can. Here is a great example of making things fun in the classroom.

Scavenger Hunts

Instead of simply giving kids a poem to read and asking them questions, have them complete a scavenger hunt by seeking literary devices within the poem or short text. Allow them to work in groups, helping each other find the elements. Each "winning" point gets them closer to a prize or a bonus activity.

The scavenger hunt could be a race between groups or a work-at-your-own-pace model where everyone gets a prize after completing the activity. Add a creative element at the end where students create a song, drawing, or poster about the poem in question.

Here is an example of a scavenger hunt for the ELA classroom perfect for Egyptian World Literature.

Hymn to the aten Teacher Instruction
Download PDF • 10.70MB

If you are working with lower levels or grades, simply identifying the literary device may be enough; however, if you are working with high schoolers, adding more critical thinking elements is easy. After students "seek" all of the items, have them explain the significance of the literary device and how it affects the overall theme of the poem.

As your students work with texts hands-on with others in a group, you will see their analysis skills improve. To add a level of digital literacy to the lessons, allow them to create videos or Flipgrids during the scavenger hunt. This can also be a great time to add in an element of speech to your lessons!


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