Vacation! We love to hear the word. But, how many of us truly take a “vacation”? I know the entire time I was away from home last month I searched for resources to pack away into my suitcase to bring back to my faculty and students. Vacations are some of the best places to get free resources. Think about it. You’re away from your school campus, probably somewhere many students will never travel. That’s a perfect place to find resources to share with them.
I love pamphlets at truck stops and visitor centers. They’re so eye-catching and interesting. They make me want to go there! Guess what? That’s persuasive writing. That’s advertising. That’s a resource!
Students enjoy looking at pamphlets. I keep a plastic shoe box filled with them for students to pursue at their leisure. It makes an easy conversation starter about what caught their eye, why they find it interesting, if they know where that particular place is located or not. That leads directly into their own writing or graphic designing.
Maps are great resources to pick up for free while on vacation. Often we rely on a website to map our location, directions, or the entire earth for us; however, paper maps are even more fascinating for students. Our local chamber of commerce regularly gives me a box of maps for students. It’s one of my second grade lesson plans. Students learn their home address, locate it on Google Maps, and then they use a city map to locate it also.
Having maps of different locations allows students to compare and contrast them. Laminate your maps and have students use dry erase markers to circle the differences, find items like the legend, or even trace a route to a particular location.
3. Photos & Videos
Nothing beats telling your students about awesome adventures like your photographs and videos. Students appreciate your retelling, but students worship pictures. Social media is a great outlet and sharing space for your vacation photos and videos; assign students to go view one or two of them. Ask them what they think. My colleague, Stony Evans, used his footage of the Grand Canyon to create a green screen video for his wife Cindy Evans to make announcement while she was absent. Coincidentally, they are both school librarians.
Sharing your photos and videos allows students to formulate a personal connection to that place. World landmarks, amusement parks, and vacation locations are great images to share as resources for your students and teachers.
The Nina and Pinta replica docked in Little Rock, Arkansas.
4. Science Resources
Namely, science resources in the form of gemstones, rocks, and shells. My children are always picking up these tiny items as keepsakes and evidence of their adventures. Students (and science teachers) enjoy seeing these amazing science resources. My daughter has several gemstones and some fossilized animal teeth (gross) from the Crater of Diamonds State Park here in Arkansas. It’s a “you find it, you keep it” park. Yes, if you find a diamond, you get to keep it!
As you travel during school breaks, consider the resources that you are passing. There are many, many more free resources just laying in wait out there. What do you bring back to share?
Author: Ashley Cooksey
Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.