I loved reading about writing camp. I don’t qualify to take part as I am no longer teaching, nor am I a librarian, but where were you when I was actually teaching writing to the very young? Art and writing were my favorite times of the day. Art and writing were combined.
I taught first and third grade, and for two years a split 2/3 class. I love to read the blogs from Two Writing Teachers and others who are still in the middle of it. It brings back many fond memories. I think I can honestly say that I never had a day when I didn’t want to go into school and face my room full of kids.
My school had no “art” classes for any grade. This really didn’t bother me, because I love doing art projects. I found, early on, that an art project often led into a writing project. My principal came to observe one day when we were into a very messy art lesson. The kids worked in pairs. They folded a large piece of construction paper and then splat paint (carefully) on one side. I had prepared three colors- red, blue, yellow. Then they would fold the paper on itself and, with their partner, smooth it down to spread the paint around. Then open it up. The kids exploded. WOW gorgeous designs and they found suddenly there was orange, green and purple there as well.
My principal did have a sense of humor (I hoped) as I told the students to take their wet painted designs and lay them on the floor by the reading table where he was seated. “Hem him in so he can’t get out”, says I. I did see him smile and the kids looked him over and decided it was a good idea.
When they returned from recess the paint was dry and we held them up for all to enjoy. “It looks like a butterfly.” “No its a race car” and so the chatter went. They knew what was coming. Most art projects led to writing and write they did, all about their new painting.
At the start of the year they would share their writing with me. I didn’t correct spelling in their writing or put any mark on their creations. I did ask questions. As the year wore on, they were invited to share their writing with the class and by the end of the year they would share with a partner. It was then that the spelling and content would be discussed, not with me, but with a friend, who would ask “what do you mean here?” “I don’t understand.” “This is how you spell—”
Oh how I loved the writing done by the students. They had the words. They could tell endless stories and used words they couldn’t spell, but they knew what they meant. They learned to add to their stories from questions asked by their friends.
Writing camp sounds like fun. My daughter has turned my week into a week long writing session as I decide each week what to add to my blog. I sew and knit and my mind travels though the years past until I have to grab my Mac and start hitting the keys. (If you could see the original writing with miss-hit keys you will agree that I hit the keys). And somehow the writing appears each week. And I love the comments as well, you all are my partners working with me from anywhere.