GCS Read To Be Ready (Grant) Summer Camp "Camp Happenings"

GCS Read To Be Ready (Grant) Summer Camp will be held at Tusculum View. The camp had a Family Night Kickoff & Picnic on May 13th; and the dates for camp are May 28-31, June 3-6, June 10-13, and June 17-29.

The grant will be serving approximately 14 students from Highland, 5 students from Hal Henard, and 5 students from Tusculum View. All of the students are rising second and third graders.


May 13, 2019 - Family Night Kickoff & Picnic 

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  May 13, Family Night Kickoff & Picnic

Family Night Kickoff & Picnic on May 13th started with the introduction of the teachers and then Heather Fay and Austin Bird read the book Claymates.  This book reading was a demonstration of how to partner read and was done in order to show parents how to creatively read a story with their child.  After their presentation the camp students created their own claymates while the parents attended a meeting about activities that will be offered during camp this summer.  Next, the parents and the students went on a scavenger hunt on school grounds to see the library, outdoor classroom, pond, and Book Bus.  Each camper was allowed to choose 4 books from the Book Bus and another “We Read Together” book at the end of the night.  The program concluded with a spaghetti supper and all of the trimmings for the families. 



May 28 -31, 2019 - R2BR Camp Week 1

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R2BR Camp Week 1

The Read to Be Ready summer reading camp for students in the Greeneville City Schools began at Tusculum View on Tuesday May 28, 2019. The curriculum for the first week focused on plants and provided opportunities for students to explore a wide variety of books on plants, plant life cycles, seeds, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and gardening. What Do You Do With a Chance? by Cobi Yamada, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony, and Jack's Garden by Henry Cole were several of the books used to stimulate interest and provide information relative to the theme of the day’s lesson. Each day campers enjoyed listening to books read aloud to them, partner reading with a buddy, and writing poems and stories in their journal. Hands-on activities included preparing corn and beans for sprouting, dissecting a black walnut to see where the embryo was hiding, planting walnut trees in cups, exploring the pond habitat to make observations about seeds, tasting fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and preparing the school garden for planting. On Wednesday campers visited the Greeneville City Schools’ book bus to choose four new books to take home. The next day students once again “grew” their home library by selecting three more books provided by the Read to Be Ready grant.

Another highlight of the week was the field trip. Students, dressed in their camp t-shirts, camp hats, and colorful camp backpacks, provided by the Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation, embarked on an amazing learning experience to the Greeneville/Greene County Library where Erin Evans, library director, introduced campers to the library, engaged the student audience in several interactive read a louds, explained how to get a library card, presented campers with a book, and handed out “goodie bags”. The next stop was the Greeneville Sun, the local newspaper, where Dale Long, director of printing, and Michael Reneau, editor, explained how news stories for the paper are written, prepared, and published. This adventure also included a chance to see the printing plates being made, the presses in action, and bundles of newspapers being loaded for delivery. Students were given that day’s newspaper and a free subscription to the paper for the month of June. The last stop was the garden center at Lowe’s. Florence Thompson, garden center associate, taught the campers about garden herbs by enticing them to smell each one’s sweet aroma. Students planted a flower in a planter and were given a tomato plant to add to their personal garden. The excited campers concluded the week with many memorable experiences and learning opportunities to help them make connections between the real world and what they had been reading in class.


June 3-6, 2019 - R2BR Camp Week 2

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R2BR Camp Week 2 

This week was another busy week for Read to Be Ready summer campers. The curriculum which focused on plants continued this week as students further explored how plants grow, how to care for plants, and different types of plants. Students were exposed to many new books including The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, and My Awesome Summer by Paul Meisel. Campers continued to explore the world around us by writing observations in their journals, creating poems about nature, and generating questions to answer about the topics explored. A collaborative news-letter about camp activities was started by groups of students, and this news-letter will travel home with students upon completion. Students also spent much of their time enjoying read-alouds, reading independently, and buddy reading. Hands-on activities included planting tomatoes, marigolds, impatiens, onions, and potatoes in the school garden, planting cacti from sprouts from a large cactus, and dissecting fruits to observe with microscopes.  

The Read to Be Ready Summer camp had many special guests this week. On Tuesday, a garden specialist, Kaitlyn Jones, from Evergreen Nursery in Johnson City came to speak with students about growing plants in a greenhouse. Students experienced a variety of plants including a Venus fly trap, an aloe plant, and a popcorn plant. Campers were also instructed on how to properly plant and care for a tomato plant seedling. Each student took home a tomato plant donated by Evergreen Nursery to add to their own garden. Dr. Susan Bryant, assistant director of Greeneville City Schools, also visited on Tuesday as a guest reader during lunch. On Wednesday, students were visited by Erin Evans, the director of the local library, and Joel Houser, a local bee expert. Ms. Evans read books about bees aloud to students. Mr. Houser shared many fascinating facts about bees and provided details about how honey is produced. Students had the opportunity to see an observation beehive and taste fresh honey from a real honey comb. Mrs. Amy Haynie, instructional specialist and academic coach for Greeneville City Schools, also visited on Wednesday as a guest reader during lunch.  

Field trips were another exciting part of the week! On Monday, students traveled to Myers Pumpkin Patch and Farm. Farmer Vera Ann Myers and Farmer Alvin Myers took students on a tour of the greenhouses, taught students how to gather seeds from flowering plants, and took students on a hayride to view the recently planted corn field that will serve as the corn maze in the fall. Students took home many plants to add to their personal gardens including marigolds, impatiens, and peppers. Thursday’s field trip started at Rural Resources in Greene County. Students learned about the nutrition benefits of eating fresh vegetables, planted sunflowers, had the opportunity to milk a cow, churned fresh butter, and made pancakes to enjoy with their butter. Each camper was given a sunflower plant to put in their home garden. After a fun filled morning at Rural Resources, students traveled to Tusculum University and enjoyed lunch on the lawn at the Meen Math and Science Center. Following lunch, students met with Mrs. Stacy McGill, associate director of Upward Bound, and Cindy Propst, Greeneville High School biology teacher, to tour the biology labs and learn about animals. Each camper was able to explore the inside of a fetal pig and the heart of an adult pig.  High school upward bound students assisted the campers in this fascinating learning opportunity.  A number of Read to Be Ready campers discovered that they may someday want to pursue a career in biology. 


June 10-13, 2019 - R2BR Camp Week 3

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R2BR Camp Week 3 

Read to Be Ready summer campers enjoyed an exciting third week of activities.  The focus of this week’s curriculum was on animals and how these creatures adapt to natural changes within their environment.  Don’t Take Your Snake for a Stroll, Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents, What if You Had Animal Teeth, and Wild about Books were some of the books used to help set the stage for each day’s focus of study. 

Reading and writing are important aspects of all camp activities.  Students continued their work on a collaborative newsletter about daily camp activities and they completed a postcard to be sent to a friend or family member. The students used the postcard to write about their favorite part of camp, addressed their postcards, and placed them in the school mailbox for delivery.  Campers were also able to choose seven new books, provided by the Read to Be Ready grant, to add to their home library.  In addition they visited the Greeneville City School Book Bus where they traded in books they had already read and were able to select new books to take home to read.

Students visited the Tusculum View pond and wetlands where Girl Scouts were mounting birdhouses they had built onto tall posts near the water.  They explained to the campers how the bird boxes would attract birds who would in turn eat the pesky mosquitoes living near the wetlands.  Campers took a nature walk and participated in an exciting bird beak challenge.

Read to Be Ready summer camp week three once again included many special guests.  On Monday Mary Murray-Vitrano, from Greene Animal League, and several Tennessee Promise volunteers brought three beautiful Huskies to buddy read with the campers.  The rescue dogs were patient companions for the students and the adult volunteers who enjoyed reading to each other.  Later in the day, Mary Little, herpetologist, and Janet Ricker, Hal Henard Elementary School principal and former high school science teacher, provided scientific information concerning snakes and other reptiles.  Mrs. Ricker brought a juvenile snake which provided opportunities for the students to get up close, real-world, hands-on experiences. On Tuesday, Dr. Matt Quillen, a local veterinarian, talked to the students about animals, animal care, and his unique animal experiences.  He spoke about the importance of learning to read, doing well in school and the educational commitment required to become a veterinarian.  He brought parasitic worms in a jar, a snake specimen, and his beautiful, amazing parrot to help the students better understand the unique characteristics of animals.  Another special guest this week was Marty Silver, wildlife naturalist with Warriors Path State Park. He discussed the predator/prey relationship between animals, especially raptors, which occurs naturally in the wild.  He brought an Eastern Screech Owl for the students to observe and an owl pellet that the students dissected.  Our guest readers during lunch this week were Stacy King, academic coach for Greeneville City Schools; Pat Donaldson, Teaching & Learning Coordinator for Greeneville City Schools, and Mr. Steve Starnes, director of Greeneville City Schools.  

The Read to Be Ready campers completed the week with another exciting field trip.  Our first stop for the day was Barnes and Noble bookstore in Johnson City which opened early to allow campers to take a tour and explore this wonderful world of books.  Using grant funding each camper purchased more than $75 worth of books to take home for their personal book collection.  Thank you, Vicky Combs, for an amazing experience!  Afterwards, the campers enjoyed an Italian meal, free of charge, at Fazioli’s.  They loved eating at a sit-down restaurant; but the all you can eat bread sticks and the soda were truly the hit of the day!  Next the campers traveled to Tusculum University where they enjoyed a tour of the Thomas J. Garland library. Kathy Hipps, librarian, shared the unique history of the library and encouraged the campers to visit the library with their families.  The last stop of this exciting day included a visit to Creamy Cup just across the street from the university.   Lynette and Eric Price, owners, generously treated each of the students to a scoop of ice cream and a delicious fruit slush.  All the campers agreed this was an amazing day!


June 17-29, 2019 - R2BR Camp Week 4

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R2BR Camp Week 4 

Read to Be Ready Summer Camp wrapped up with a busy final week.  Our curriculum focus for the final week was animals as we wrapped up our learning about living things.  Students had the opportunity to study many types of animals by exploring books such as Where Are the Night Animals? by Mary Ann Fraser, Would You Rather Be a Pollywog? by Dr. Seuss, and My Visit to the Zoo by Aliki. Students had many instances for reading independently, partner reading, writing, and listening to stories.  Hands on activities this week included investigating owl pellets and “creating” our own animals.  Our home libraries continued to expand as we chose six new books to take home this week provided by the Read to Be Ready grant, and we enjoyed our last visit to the Greeneville City Schools Book Bus.  Over the duration of summer camp full-time campers have selected and received over 30 free, brand new books to keep and read at home. 

We were excited to welcome many visitors this week.  Mr. Jim Holt, a local bird expert and naturalist, shared his expertise about nocturnal animals.  Campers particularly enjoyed hearing the unique sounds different owls make.  Barbara Southerland and the members of the Farm Bureau Women provided a presentation and tasting experience to help us understand how farms provide food.  We learned how different breeds of cows provide our milk for drinking and how the milk is used to provide other ingredients used in cooking.  Through visuals, questioning, and much conversation we learned about the different breeds of beef cattle that provide us with the meat we eat. Pat and Dan Barnett, retired local educators and members of the Nolichucky Watershed Alliance, provided information and hands on learning stations at the wetlands at Dogwood Park (Holley Creek Watershed) to help campers understand the importance of a wetland habitat.  We discussed the names of the plants and talked about how the water from the pond will eventually end up in the Nolichucky River which is where we get our drinking water. We wrapped up our summer camp with a final field trip to Bright’s Zoo.  Campers enjoyed the opportunity to see and touch many of the animals they have been reading about during camp.  They were able to feed the goats and they particularly enjoyed spending time in the aviary where they were able to feed the Lorikeets. 

Our weeks at camp have been busy with reading, writing, and exploring the world around us.  As we wrap up our time at camp, we wish our campers the very best.