Travis third-graders go ‘camping’ ahead of STAAR test
The third grade teachers at W.B. Travis Elementary School are taking a little time out of their regular classroom routines to have some fun while getting a last academic push in to prepare for the upcoming STAAR test next week.

“Camp Wannalearnalot” is a fun and intensive math and reading instruction review with a twist.

To create the aura of a “real” campsite, the six third grade teachers have pushed the desks aside and replaced them with sleeping bags and tents. Some teachers have fake campfires and other camping gear to enhance the effect.

“The third grade students are so excited when they arrive at school. They can hardly wait to go to camp. The teachers have worked so hard to help students prepare for the upcoming state assessment, and this camp has provided students with a fun and interactive way to review the skills,” said Travis Principal Karen Thomas.

Organized by Travis Campus Instructional Specialists Mrs. Harris (math), and Karen Mills (reading), “Camp Wannalearnalot” concentrates on areas of reading and math that some students may still be having trouble with.

The “Camp” consists of six rotations with each student visiting a different teacher every 50 minutes.

The teachers have given their rooms camp names. The Reading Camps are called Characterization Campground, Comprehension Campground and Summary Campground. The Math Camps were S’More Math – Estimation, S’More Math – Geometry and S’More Math –Number Sense.

Each teacher works with the classes on a different math or reading objective for 50 minutes. At the end of the 50 minutes, the students rotate to a different teacher room finishing up at the end of the day back in their own homeroom.

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An example of the routine of one reading class, the teacher spends the first 30 minutes continuing the District Bridging to STAAR with STAAR like "camp theme" reading passages. These passages are an accumulation of all state-mandated reading objectives. The remainder of the time, the students work with a partner on a certain Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objective also with a "camp theme."

The stations consist of games, graphic organizers, poems, books or other media dealing with their specific objective. These stations take about 10 minutes to complete after which they would rotate to the next station. The students are able to visit two stations in each day.

“The students are having a great time,” said Mrs. Mills. “While I was visiting a class earlier, the teacher announced it was time for a recess break and the whole class let out a simultaneous big moan! The kids then started to complain, ‘Do we have to?’This is a real testament they are enjoying this new learning environment.”
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