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Students "camp out" for math and literacy at Zach White

White lit camp  White lit camp  White lit camp  White lit camp  

EPISD students packed their blankets and sleeping bags this summer to “camp out” at the Motivated Math and Literacy Camp at Zach White Elementary. 

Around 140 students from Zach White, Herrera, Bond and Rivera elementary schools are reinforcing their math and literacy skills during the month of June.

“We decided to embrace the lit camp theme, telling the kids they are campers – that they are camping here while they learn,” Teacher Mary Lou Barber said. “This non-traditional classroom structure makes it more fun for them.”

Students start the day with the reading portion of the camp, laying out their blankets on their carpet to listen or read a new book each day. The LitCamp curriculum focuses on seven different strengths, such as belonging, friendship, kindness and curiosity, to build literacy and social emotional skills. 

“One of our main goals is to build community and friendship. We want the children to learn through hands-on activities and working with partners,” Barber said. 

Incoming first-grader Casey McRoy likes spending time with his friends. 

“I like being able to sit on a blanket on the carpet,” Casey said. “I met new kids from other schools too.”

His favorite part of the camp is learning through game play. Students are allotted time in the morning and the afternoon to play educational literacy and math games on tablets or in the computer lab. 

“I really like Smarty Ants,” Casey said. “We skate on snow to get letters and build words.”

All campers receive a free breakfast and lunch, playing outside during recess. After lunch, students immerse themselves in fun math activities. 

“They get to do a lot of hands-on activities, using math manipulatives,” teacher Piper Norris said. “They are playing games, but at the same time they are building those necessary math skills they are going to need once school starts in the fall.” 

Besides integrating technology, the camp also incorporates art in the curriculum to pique student creativity. 

“We want to have fun with it, so we have art projects they are going to work on,” Norris said. “It’s a smaller group, so we really get to focus on more one-on-one time. It’s great because they get to interact with different students from other schools and meet new people, which really ties into the whole theme of building community.”