Today’s Contributor: Amanda Braziel
Amanda has been an AISD educator since 1999. In addition to being Mom to 2 AISD students (one at Martin and one at Maplewood), she is the librarian, Campus Innovation Coach, and Green Team co-sponsor at Maplewood Elementary. Amanda is passionate about environmental issues and is a strong advocate for equity. She loves learning, collaborating with colleagues, and dreaming big.
Never have I heard so much laughter during a first PD day after summer break! Over the summer, our tech committee and campus administrators collaborated (Hooray! What a way to start the year!) to create a series of GooseChase mini-challenges for use as ice breakers, team builders, instructional devices, and assessment tools. Instead of sitting, reading the Staff Handbook together, we completed missions or challenges to earn points toward our interactive GooseChase Scavenger Hunt, and we had a blast! Winners received prizes, gift cards, and notoriety among their peers. 🙂
We divided our faculty into grade level teams, special areas, and special education. Each group had a series of 32 missions to complete, including taking selfies in front of the new location of the grade level news board, recording a video of an original cheer for their classrooms’ assigned custodian, locating the forms for bus requests, submitting plans for use of Creative Learning Initiative funds, writing a Haiku about using MakerSpace in classrooms, and sharing a photo of a teammate’s inviting learning space. As our colleagues reconvened in the library, we played the videos and showed the pictures that had been streaming in from various teams for the previous hour. We shared a lot of laughs together and really bonded over the experience. The staff had so much fun, in fact, that we upgraded from the free version and invested in a campus subscription so teachers, PTA, and our administration could create GooseChase challenges to engage students, staff, and parents in their classroom lessons and campus meetings. During Back to School Night, our special areas team and I created a GooseChase for parents and students to use to help guide their visits to the art room, music room, gym, and library. The students really enjoyed leading their parents from place to place, and the parents enjoyed the interactivity of the app, including receiving reminders of when it was time to switch classrooms. We had iPads available for check-out in case parents didn’t come equipped with smart phones.
If you’re interested in learning more about GooseChase for use with your students, faculty, or parents, visit https://www.goosechase.com/ They have banks of pre-created challenges, and it is also possible to share challenges with other teachers or campuses. I highly recommend this format as an exciting way to engage your students, parents, and staff.