When one thinks of summer camp some of these things may come to mind; outdoor activities, new friends, super cool camp leaders, a bazillion bugs, hot days with sudden rain showers, scavenger hunts, and of course singing around the camp fire. This a quite a different definition than summer school, but does it have to be all that different? Camp Edventure is the free six week elementary summer school program that Bismarck Public Schools offers for students entering first grade through fifth grade the following school year. This summer the goal is to put that adventure that the name implies into the program, while continuing to follow the guidelines the state requires of the program, two hours of math and two hours of reading each day.
One way to do this is to integrate the high interest content areas of science and social studies into the reading and math classroom through the process of inquiry. The definition of inquiry is an act of asking for information or in other words, asking lots of questions and doing lots of research and investigating to get an answer to something you are wondering about. There are many educational inquiry models out there, but basically the process follows these steps, wondering, investigating, recording, discovering, thinking, trying, and finally reflecting. This process can easily be integrated into the reading or math classroom by changing the way a teacher poses the activity. This process also provides higher student engagement, fosters deeper understanding, and provides students the opportunity to think critically about their learning.
Camp Edventure teachers will have the opportunity to be involved in a day and a half planning session with colleagues to develop and prepare a three week or six week project based on inquiry. By creating these opportunities for teachers to collaborate and allowing them the flexibility to create curriculum based on reading and math learning goals, the 1,800 or so students that attend Camp Edventure will be able to feel that sense of adventure as they head to summer school this year.
The registration deadline is March 25, 2016. Get those forms turned in, in order to guarantee your child a spot for Camp Edventure.
Article by Brenda Beiswenger, Principal at Prairie Rose Elementary School