Learners at Work: Let’s Go Treasure Hunting!


I work with two 11-year-old girls for one hour and half, and right after they leave I have another two adorable 11-year old boys coming in. They are in the 6th grade and they leave their regular school classes to have English classes with me. They are part of the 6th to 9th graders project we have in our school. Because they take the course in the language school in the morning, they have this special class in the afternoon. From 7th to 9th grade, they take their English course in the language center in the afternoon. In the morning, I work with the small groups of 9th graders.

Two weeks ago was our first week after the winter break and we worked with Spy Cat video/lesson from the Teaching Kids English Website BC. I’m usually more concerned with the possibility of them understanding the input using all the visual cues avaiable through the audiovisual media than presenting a grammar structure. They learn by using the language they need to accomplish a task or activity. I usually use the same texts but in different ways so they can have as much repetition as possible of the language they are producing/using. My focus with SpyCat video story was on the two characters, SpyCat and Ratty (who they are, what they are doing, and why they are doing this or that).

Activities suggested by Teaching Kids English which I worked pretty nicely.

Break the code to discover the clues!

Listen to the story and put the events in the right order.

And creating their own coded clues based on a similar situation.

“Ratty has come to your country! Help Spycat find him: write 3 clues telling
Spycat 3 different cities in your country to visit.”
Inspired by these activites, I thought of inviting them to go treasure hunting. Instead of me preparing everything for them, I decided to invite them to do it themselves and I just guided and supported them in the task while helping them to use L2.
1) On the board, I started presenting the task by drawing a treasure chest and eliciting the word from them. I had to use words like ‘pirate’, draw coins inside it or an island for them to come up with the word treasure box. And then a map to show that pirates hide their treasure and we need a map to find it.
2) They were very excited with the idea. Once they understood that they would do all that for the other students to find their treasure, they got even more excited.
3) They decided where to hide.
4) Making the map:
4a) Plan out the map in an A4 sheet of paper. It’s just a sketch to see the path and make decisions about what to include. This is the treasure path. They made all the decisions. I just helped them learn the words of places and how to pronounce them.
treasure14b) Collaboration: Working on the drawing of the map, adding the words in English and also distractions.

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5) Writing clues: They wrote for each place 3 clues according to their language level and during this stage questions were asked and teaching occured. They were encouraged to try out first by using a dictionary, and then, I’d check and help them write correctly also considering the level of language of the other students and theirs.

From step 1 to 5: 1h 30 mins

Our treasure hunting is tomorrow! The maps that they’ve produced will be used for follow-up activities focusing on language practice. I also noticed that they will practice again during the treasure hunting itself.  Because they chose similar places and therefore, there are similar clues and this will give them new encouters with the vocabulary they have used during the planning/writing stage. They will also practice reading/pronouncing them during the treasure hunting. The treasure is actually a bunch of delicious things to eat together during class break. We’ll be able to sit by a tree and enjoy each other’s company.


4 thoughts on “Learners at Work: Let’s Go Treasure Hunting!

    • Me, too. The girls have already contacted me to check if the treasure hunting is tomorrow! 🙂 they seem excited about it.
      Yes, the girls made the map for the boys, and the boys for the girls. They also created the clues. We will take a walk around the school while they are trying to figure out the clues and find the places for the next set of clues. Until the first the treasure box. 🙂 I bet my teens would enjoy this too. When we have egg hunting during easter and they play in teams, they love it. But creating it themselves would take this to another level. I should give it a try with my level two students in the afternoon. It’s a group of 8 students. They know the school well, I can put them in teams of 2. Something to think about. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

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