Surviving the Wild of Middle School by Making It FUN

Supporting Curriculum and Adding FUN

Each year seventh-grade students in my school read two class novels that focus on survival skills and wild terrain. Students read Call of the Wild by Jack London and Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen as a whole group in class and individually.

I wondered how I could support their curriculum without duplicating their lessons. After some brainstorming I decided on two activities: a digital breakout and a virtual field trip. These activities would be conducted in two library classes over two weeks.

A digital breakout was a new concept for my students and teachers, so I wanted to impress. I started planning it when I stumbled upon a great ready-made Call of the Wild Digital Breakout by Loquacious Learning on Teachers Pay Teachers for only $5.00. Why should I reinvent the wheel, right?

Digital Breakout Day…

Students worked in teams of four and easily followed the directions of the breakout. Digital breakouts make it easy to manage progress and monitor teamwork, yet students are incredibly engaged. They demonstrated teamwork and had to combine their knowledge of the novel to solve the puzzles, which unlocked electronic number, word, directional, and key locks. I walked around monitoring and cheering on the students, as well as sparking the competition flame. Afterwards, students posed for pictures with signs just like all of the popular Escape Rooms use. It was a huge success.

Both books are set around Alaska so I searched for a virtual field trip offered in Alaska and discovered the perfect solution, Denali National Park. The park offers a Distance Learning Project via Zoom Conferencing. I contacted Sarah Dumont, Education Technician of the Denali National Park and Preserve, and we quickly scheduled two virtual sessions.

Virtual Field Trip…

Students listened to the presentation given by the Denali Park Ranger and asked questions during and after. Most of my students won’t ever have the opportunity to travel from Arkansas to Alaska, so this field trip not only elaborated on the settings of their two class novels but enabled them to learn about a place much different from their home state.

These activities were great learning experiences for these students and an exceptional way to highlight the greatness of the school library.



Author: Ronda Hughes

Ronda Hughes is a Middle School Library Media Specialist in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She has 21 years experience in public education as: a Physical Education teacher, 5th grade Literacy teacher and a library media specialist. Hughes has served as Tri-Lakes Reading Council President, Arkansas Reading Association Intellectual Chair, Alpha Delta Kappa Vice President, and Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Board Member. She has been on numerous committees such as; Arkansas Department of Education K-8 Computer Science Standards and Library Media Standards, Garland County READS, Arkansas Diamond Book Award Committee, Charlie May Simon Book Award Committee, just to name a few.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Makerspaces/Learning Commons, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology

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