December 27, 2015

Camp Read-A-Lot

This should maybe be titled:

Camp Read-A-Lot: Saving This Teacher's Sanity Since Thanksgiving 2014.

Let me tell you about a little "tradition" I've started in my classroom. As you all know, the days before any break can be harried, stressful, and crazy at best. Especially by the time Thanksgiving comes around, we may be looking forward to upcoming testing, going to battle daily with "that kid", trying to get some final writing samples published, and just overall trying to make it through to the holiday.

Last year, I took this opportunity to plan a special event on the last day before Thanksgiving break. My goal was for us to have fun, to do something "academic", stave off misbehavior from boredom, and have something to hold over their heads look forward to for the week. I also didn't want to create a lot of extra work for us-I wanted it to be low key.

As usual, I created an invitation to give to the kids as my way of announcing our special event. I invited them to bring their flashlights (or headlamps or even Camelbacks!) and wear plaid. Last year, I invited my kids to bring sleeping bags and their own tablets to read on.

The afternoon before the event, I prepped our room and set up a center rotation. I made some "tents" out of table cloth, made a "fire" out of a box and some tissue paper, rearranged some seating, and covered my tables with butcher paper for a fun sharing activity.

I set up a rotation to take us pretty much through the entire day and assigned students to groups of 5 or so. Oh, and of course, I turned the lights out and opened the windows for the whole day. Here were my low prep stations:

Fireside Stories-Students settled in around the fire or under a tent for some free reading.
Canoe the Accelerated River-Students read at their seats and then took an AR text. 
Hike the Technology Trail-Students did reading on the RazKids website, which they all have logins for.
Crafting Cottage-Students made a bookmark with a bunch of leftover stuff from my closet.

There were a few other activities that we did as a whole group:

Read Aloud-These were Thanksgiving themed for us!
Book Sharing-Students got to use markers to write the titles of some of their favorite books on the tables I had covered with butcher paper. 
Eating S'Mores-We made s'mores in the microwave and took them outside to eat and have extra recess to celebrate our fun day together. 

At the end of the day, there were happy kids, happy parents, and a happy teacher. Oh, and lots of hugs to send me off to a wonderful Thanksgiving break!

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