We all find ourselves getting excited about the end of the school year as it approaches! Yet, as that last week rolls around, we find ourselves dreading it a bit. You’ve likely run out of curriculum, your kids are mentally on vacation already, the kids that desire the routine of school are struggling with the transition, and your energy is waning as you balance the circus.
You might even feel as though you are dancing on your head to keep them engaged and excited. Sound familiar???
What if I told you that you could improve the last week of school, support student learning, create positive memories, and actually look forward to the beautiful chaos that ends the year? Oh yes, it exists. Enter…Camp Skeeter!
Camp Skeeter is a fun way to keep students active and engaged during the last few days of school.
Here are some simple tips and tricks to set up your own camp to beat the end of the year slump:
Use fun, colorful camping tents
- I use beach tents.
- Students will also bring in 2-4 person tents.
- I also use plastic tablecloths from Walmart to drape over desks or tables.
Create a campfire
- I get real medium sized rocks to create a circle then have students roll up brown construction paper to create wood. I place orange string lights under the paper and use red, orange, and yellow tissue paper for the fire. You may need an extension cord.
- You could also use a Halloween caldron.
- There are also inflatable campfires.
Ideas for Storage
- I stack all of my desks and chairs at the back of the room. We do this at the end of the year so this is an opportunity to clean out our desks.
- Students store their supplies in their book bags.
- We stack our shoes where our book boxes were normally stored. No shoes are allowed in the tents.
Two Weeks Before Camp:
- I send home parent letters explaining camp and the materials students will need.
- Ask parents to send in a letter to their student for each day of camp. Students will write back to their families each day.
- Parents can also send in Care Packages of snacks, games, glow sticks, stationary, or other treats.
- Make sure none of your students are left out.
- I have included prewritten letters you can use for students whose parents are not able to participate or who “forget.”
Student Materials Needed:
- Flashlight labeled with name
- Sleeping bag or blanket
- Letters from family
- *Care packages
- I don’t make students work inside of the tents for the entire day. Many times, we are doing activities outside or around the campfire.
- Remember, they still need to have movement breaks.
- I always balance out a quiet working activity with an engaging movement activity. This will GREATLY minimize behavior issues.
Losing Tent Privileges
- Being in the tents is a privilege. I always keep a desk or two out for students to work if they are misbehaving or need a break. I also make it fun by pretending that we are really in the woods and that the Park Rangers have notified us that there is a bear roaming close to our camp.
- This helps us to keep our tents clean so that the bear doesn’t smell any food. It also helps prevent students from getting out of their tents when it’s time to work (and even being too loud). If students get out of their tents without permission, they get “attacked by the bear” and must work at the desk for five minutes. If they get attacked 3 times, they are out the rest of the day. I’ve only had to do this 2 times in 18 years of doing this.
- If students need to get my attention for any reason while we are under a “Bear Watch” they simply shine their flashlight in direction.
Earning Team Points
- Students can earn points for their Tent group for great behavior choices, completing assignments, etc. They keep track of their points on their group sign that they created and have hung on their tent. I use the points to determine who gets special privileges. For example; which group gets to line up first for lunch or recess, which team earns five minutes of free time, which team gets to make SMORES first, etc.
Grab my free Camp in the Classroom Guide to get even more info on how I run camp. I include some of my favorite Camp Games, Camp Activities, and videos to add to the ambiance. You can get this in my Free Resource Library by signing up for my Newsletter
Get all my Camp Recommendations here. This includes all of the fun, budget-friendly supplies that are used!
And grab my Free S’MORES Solar Oven STEM Project here.
Perhaps looking to the end of the year is challenging because you are still in the eye of the storm preparing for state testing. If that’s you, be sure to check out my ELA Test Prep Task Cards!! These will support your students as you review while freeing you up to provide interventions! Don’t think I forgot about math! Try out these Multiplication Hidden Picture Workouts for some added fun and review too!
In case you missed it, be sure to check out my blog: Free Guide on How to Review for State Testing! You’ll be glad you snagged these resources!
DM me on Instagram @thatteachingspark or tag me to show me your end of the year plans!