Scavenger Hunt

This is what my Saturdays are like: after the newspaper is read, the dogs are walked, and I’m showered and dressed, I sit down at my computer to begin the weekly scavenger hunt.  What am I looking for?  Interesting and informative lesson ideas or activities that address the class objectives I’ve outlined for the coming weeks.  With six different class preps each day, this can sometimes stretch beyond Saturday.

This week, for instance, I’m planning to review sentence structure, parts of speech, and punctuation rules with my junior English class.  I could pull out the Language Network textbook and choose some applicable exercises.  Badda bing!  Done!  But it seems to me there will be resources online that are more engaging for my students.  So off I go.

My first stop is “Grammar Bytes,” a site I’m familiar with for interactive exercises and quizzes at  I think I can use some of these, and it will give me a fall-back if students whizz through the other planned activities. Then I see what Google nets me.  Several more good sites come up.  Something in one of them gives me an idea: why not teach parts of speech by using Mad Libs?

I remember using Mad Libs several years ago, only to be frustrated by students’ inaccurate knowledge about parts of speech.  I think I’ll try it again this week, after reviewing parts of speech.  After a short search, I locate a pretty good site of online Mad Libs at  Another idea pops up in for giving students words on sticky notes that they’re instructed to place on one of the eight parts of speech posters placed around the room.  Good for getting students up and active.

Another WordPress blogger, who writes “Working in Adult Literacy,”  gives me an idea about teaching sentence structure by accentuating punctuation pauses in readings.  Good idea.  How do I adapt it for my juniors?  A couple of searches later, I get the idea to let students punctuate a well-known story, after we’ve reviewed basic punctuation rules.  I now have an unpunctuated, all lower-case version of “The Princess and the Pea,” just waiting for students to make sense of it.

Now I have this week’s lesson plans for one class, and it’s time to move on to anatomy and physiology, where I plan to have students begin to build a glossary of medical terminology.  What about creating an online glossary or online flash cards, maybe one with games and quizzes that use the terms?  I remember reading a list of sites at a while back that might work.  Off I go.

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