Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Motivation for the end of the year!... CAMP WEEK! :)

Oh boy- today was quite a rough day.  It was so rough that I was extra motivated to make a new motivation chart for the end of the year.  I am going to have my students start this chart in May.  We have an annual camp week.  A lot of time/ planning goes into it.  This year we have discussed canceling it due to many behavior issues in our classes.  I just can't bare to cancel due to the kids who have earned it and deserve it.  I made these charts so that I just take away privileges from students instead of punishing all of the others.  :(  It is too often that students who are almost always making good choices get lumped into a group punishment just because of 5-7 students that are having trouble. 

Here is my chart:  (If you need a Microsoft Word copy to manipulate for your behavior needs to help you through the year- just email me and ask for a copy!)

When I was student teaching, I was lucky enough to be a part of camp week in first grade.  I loved it so much that I "borrowed" the idea and brought it to my school ever since my first year of teaching.  It is an exhausting week for the kids and teachers both but is packed full of fun and learning!

Here are a some of the fun things that we do:
1.  Send home a secret parent packet 2 weeks in advance with stationary, envelopes and a donation request letter.  We ask parents to send in donations for snacks during the week.  We also ask parents to secretly write letters for their students to read while they are at "camp."  (This is totally stolen from my rockin' student teaching days!)  These letters are adorable!  The parents get really creative and often include pictures, write them from their animals etc.  Parents send these back to school in the secret envelope.  If students do not have a parent send back letters- I have generic templates that I use if I don't have time to write personal letters for them.  We then borrow the K teachers play mailman bag and hat/ slap it on the custodian and he delivers the mail daily to the kids during camp week.  The students practice letter writing as they respond daily to their mail.  ;)

2.  We have at least three speakers come in and do presentations for the entire grade level.  We use a local bird santuary and they bring in a large bird and have an activity like owl pellets for the students to explore.  (YUCK!)  We also use a local state park naturalist- she is a retired teacher and comes in and goes on a fake hike and acts like she found previous planted types of plants (like poison ivy) and stops and discusses the items with the students.  We finally have Passport to Fishing.  This program use to be the program hooked on fishing- not on drugs.  They come in and teach the students all about fishing and also give the students a free gift bag and their own fishing pole to take home!!!!!!

3.  I have fiction and nonfiction camping movies.  We watch these while eating snack and then practice comprehension and writing skills with them.

4.  We have a daily snack (well see above)- we work on measurement skills with our snacks.

5.  I try to have a daily mystery reader to read a camp book to the students.

6.  I invite parents to come in and teach skills like star gazing etc.

7.  We start out each morning with the entire first grade standing around the flag pole.  We say the pledge of alligience and sing 1-2 camp songs.

8.  The week before camp- we learn about animals.  We make scenery making sure that we have animals, their habitats and food sources on the scenry.  I hang these on the walls as well as hang paper insects from the ceiling to help set the "mood" for camp.

9.  We push away their desks and allow students to bring in sleeping bags/ blankets during the week.  I also set up 1-2 tents that can be used for a reward for reading during the week.

10.  I take pictures all week.  On the last day of camp- I have the students make a camp scrapbook.  They glue in the pictures (or draw them!) and write captions for the pictures.

(I hope to beef it up this year with cute clipart!)

Here are some cute camp themed items from Oriental Trading. 

This campfire tissue paper ornament is ADORABLE!  I need to try to make it myself!  :)

I have used a construction paper fire for 5 years.  I need to order this one this year:

I also need to head on over to TPT and pick up Cara Carrolls camp themed unit to supplement some of the items that I use as well!  :)

Perhaps you can use some of these ideas for a fun camp week!  ;)  (As an added bonus- it makes a good excuse to take down and pack up things early in your room because you HAVE to set up for camp.  :-) )

***This feels funny to be blogging NOT on my phone!  Lately it has been midnight from my bed!  ;)  ***



  1. Camp Week sounds like a lot of fun! I've never thought of doing that.
    Good luck with the "naughty" kids :))

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