It’s that time of the year! Writing test time. Ugh! In Texas the 4th graders have to take the Writing STAAR test. So now it is time to start reviewing for the test. One of the traditions at our school is Camp Write Along. The kids that have been at our school for a while always look forward to it. It really is helpful and you can definitely see a huge growth in the student’s writing.
This is what my room looked like after it was transformed into a campground. There was a tent, cave, campfire, dining area, and teacher table. The kids would rotate through the different areas of the classroom in groups of 4-5 kids.
Camp Write Along lasted 4 days. The kids spend 2 days writing an expository and 2 days working on revising and editing. I’m going to walk you through each day to explain what our camp looked like.
Camp Write Along Day 1- Expository Writing
On the first day of camp all the students meet in the cafeteria to listen to the Camp Coach. He describes the rules of the camp and lets the campers know what they can and cannot due while camping. NO shoes, NO jackets, NO food, and NO restrooms allowed at camp! We sing songs and the students have mail call. Each day they get letters from other students in the school and family members telling them good luck at camp. The Camp Coach then tells the students their prompt for the day- Write about how you are going to survive camp.
After we get back to the
classroom campground the students leave their shoes outside the door and get to writing. I have them divided up into groups and have them rotate through the different areas of camp. If not, they all would want to stay in the tent. They stay at the site for 20 minutes and then rotate to the next site. Each group also comes to the back table to work with me on their writing.
Camp Write Along Day 2 & 3- Editing and Revising
Each day we meet in the cafeteria for roll call. We sing songs and listen to the Camp Counselors explain to us the importance of surviving camp. The kids get their mail and then we go back to our campground. On these days they have STAAR test prep pages to practice editing and revising. I continue to meet with them in groups to discuss their answers. We turn off the lights and they work with flashlights. We have trail mix each day. It’s a very laid back atmosphere and the kids LOVE it. The Camp Coach comes around regularly to make sure everyone is following the rules. They have to hide their snacks when he comes in.
Camp Write Along Day 4- Expository Writing
The last day of camp is always the best for the kids. During the morning meeting they learn about how to survive a BEAR ATTACK. They are given the rules and told what they should do if they see a bear while camping. Well of course, wouldn’t you know a bear shows up! He reeks havoc on the place. Furniture gets thrown, confetti eggs get tossed on kids, and shoes get thrown all over the cafeteria. He even throws a bucket of water on one of the kids. It’s definitely and adventure. The kids then learn they will have to write about how to survive if you run into a bear while camping.
Camp Write Along is always the kid’s favorite memory from 4th grade. I know I was really stressed about the kid’s writing abilities. After the week of camp, the kids really seemed to grow. It was like everything I had taught them finally clicked. It was a lot of work but, I definitely enjoyed it. It was a fun way to prepare the 4th graders for the STAAR writing test.
Also, can I just say I REALLY miss my kids from last year! They were the most amazing class. I taught them for 2 years and we were definitely a family.