Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Camp 2014: Christmas in July

As part of my GEPIK contract with my Korean elementary school, I was required to teach a two-week winter and summer camp. Unsupervised teaching (no Korean co-teacher for the most part), I decided on a theme dear to my heart and somewhat inspired by my "Christmas Countdown" iPad app: Christmas in July.

Guided by my friend Rebecca's "It's a Small World" Winter Camp, we tagged-along with Santa as he delivered presents across the globe.

These are the countries we visited:
1.   Antarctica
2.   Kenya
3.   Australia
4.   India
5.   Japan
6.   Spain 


Like my Winter Camp, I had one week of 3rd & 4th graders (four teams, twelve students) and one week of 5th & 6th graders (two teams, nine students). Each day, we met from 9:00AM - 12:00PM.

Warm Up Song & Questions:
2.   Where did we go yesterday, where will we go today? (What country?) – Korean kids know their countries and liked speaking the names of the countries in the camp
3.   How many days until Christmas? - This was beneficial for the older kids; they really liked guessing numbers and didn't ever seem to remember the number of days from the previous day. 

Country Introductions:
1.   Country Name, Map, and Flag (What colors are in ____'s flag?)
2.   Weather and Climate (How’s the weather in ____?)
3.   Special Features (i.e. Kenya is home to the longest river in the world, the Nile River)
4.   Population (How many people live in ____?) – Again, the 5th & 6th graders really enjoyed this activity

*Notes: Each day, I'd hand out passport stamps for the kids to glue into their passport books; they appreciated this and kept trying to convince me to give the next day's stamp early. I should have used  this big numbers song to review big numbers for the 5th & 6th graders. Each team filled out a worksheet about the day's country.

Country Projects & Games:
1.   Make Your Own Passport Books
2.   Antarctica – Penguin Run, “North Pole” fans
3.   Kenya – Sparkle Spelling (with African animal names), “Day in the Life of Charles” Telepathy Game
4.   Australia – Australian Dot Art
5.   India – Henna Hand Christmas Wreath, Blind Pictionary
6.   Japan – Japanese Paper Fortune Tellers
7.   Spain – Paper Matador, Class Picasso Head (on touch screen)

*Notes: The Penguin Run and Sparkle Spelling were big hits - we played them nearly every day after in the extra minutes. 

[See Country Projects & Games How To]

Christmas Projects & Games:
1.   Make Christmas Ornaments (Let’s decorate the Christmas tree!)
2.   Make Your Own Ugly Christmas Sweater (paint/iron-on-crayon t-shirts)
3.   Intro to White Elephant Gift Exchange
4.   Make Candy Cane Sleighs
5.   Make Your Own Version [Mad Lib] of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”
6.   Perform Your “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”
7.   Pin the Nose on Rudolph – they totally cheated ^^
8.   Jenga with Christmas vocabulary
9.   White Elephant Gift Exchange

[See Christmas Projects & Games How To]

Minute-To-Win-It Games:
1.   Cup Stack - We played the cup stack game as a relay. Here's one of the videos we watched as motivation.
2.   Face the Cookie - "Face the Cookie" was actually "face the mini candy bar." Hilarious.

Extra Games:
1.   UNO Card Game - this game is a life-saver in my 3rd & 4th grade camp. We all needed some UNO card game downtime. 
2.   Go Fish Card Game - 5th & 6th grade liked playing this when they got to school early.

Finally, my co-teacher SK was amazing as she made all the students name tags with helpful phrases. The 3rd & 4th graders loved asking me if they could go to the bathroom, that so-and-so was bothering them, etc. The 5th & 6th graders weren't as into it, but they used the helpful phrases to see what we would be doing next. Everyone liked seeing their name romanized and it helped me a great deal, too, as far as remembering English much easier than Hangul. Each name tag was attached to a lanyard, which I had them tie around their chair. I was able to learn all the kids' names this summer camp <3 


If you have any questions, please do email me or comment on this blog. I'll be happy to share any of the materials from my "Christmas in July" Summer Camp! I will also be adding links to some of the games and projects with rules and how to's. 


  1. Abby I love it! And making the henna hands into a Christmas wreath? Genius! Having kids guess the number of days until Christmas is such a great idea, too!

    Your creativity made you such a valuable teacher this year! ^^

    1. Thank you! The henna hand Christmas wreath was a shower epiphany. I love gettng your comments and they are always such an energy boost.