One of my most anticipated units of the year is Camping with Books. It's sure to have high engagement and curb behaviors when everyone would much rather be sitting pool side. Last night I shared the above picture and a little question and answer from Instagram. Tonight I'd thought I'd come back to share just a little bit more...
I begin my unit with the video Beginners Guide to Camping. This video gives camping basics to any novice but provides a bit of humor to ensure engagement in young viewership.
Topics covered in this video range from choosing a campsite, materials needed, packing tips, weather, meals, safety, and more. To view a complete topic guide, link to The Beginner's Guide to Camping website for more information. I enjoy having the video on hand to view without interruptions; however, you can view the entire program at Tips for Camping through short videos clips of each segment.
After watching the video, my kiddos and I created a list of safety concerns or tips and tricks discovered in 25 minute video. Our shared list becomes a foundation for creating our first journal entry for camp. This year I used the journal provided in Cara's Camping Caper's Unit.
One of my favorite parts to Camping with Books is the set up! I have the kids assist with the assembly of the tent through a shared procedural writing on how to set up a tent. This always blows their minds. With student input, I begin writing and assembling step by step. This year my kinders picked up on vocabulary from the video. One of my darlings says, "First put the stake in the tent." Naturally, lift up the unassembled tent and place the steaks inside. The overwhelming roars began as kids quickly picked up what additional steps need to be written! We developed our writing on the white board so it's easy to make corrections. After many attempts, my students realized the shockrods needed to be assembled and threaded in the tent. It only took 45 minutes but we had an assembled tent, shared writing, big smiles, and lots of excitement!
In the past, I've used a real deal tent. Three years ago I transitioned to a beach tent. They're as large as a camping tent but opened in the front to allow me to see all of what going on inside.
There are a few smaller sized camping tents that I think are cute! I like having a size bigger to allow a parent, if desired, to go inside and interact with the kids.
The first is from Insect Lore...
The second is from Oriental Trading...
In the past, I've followed up with non fiction books for students to browse and gain ideas for a mural. This can be tons of fun and allow students to take ownership of our camp decor. This year, I used book suggestions from Cara's unit and followed up with camping crafts to decorate.
I've been camping in class since 2006. This has allowed me time to acquire various insect habitats. I've purchased each at Insect Lore. More recently, I've seen various habitats made by Insect Lore sold at Walmart and Target. They usually range between $14.99 to $29.99. Each come with an insect coupon card for a free set of larvae. The replacement for the following year is a fraction of the cost. The range can vary between $7 to $14.99.
Some habitats from Insect Lore that I own are...
All the above mentioned prep begins on Monday. Camp is officially opened on Tuesday through Thursday of the last week of school. The morning is dedicated to centers. We will rotate through several centers each day. I have more centers than the average school week to ensure enough for three days.
After lunch, we will watch a Magic School Bus video on various insects. I use Bugs, Bugs, Bugs learning cycle. This video includes: Ants, Bees, and Butterflies. Since butterflies are apart of our 2nd grade curriculum and highly recommended that we refrain from instructing on the topic, we compare and contrast ladybugs. I don't typically have a bee on hand so we compare and contrast to a fly. I do keep dried flies to feed our classroom Venus Fly Trap. I purchase a Fly Trap from MyCarnivore.com each year. After the video and observations, the kiddos create an insect craft.
This leads to a daily camp snack: S'mores, Trail Mix, and Ants on a Log. YUM, YUM! The day is packed full of excitement. Here are some additional pics of our adventures today!