Friday, August 20, 2010

End of Summer Camp, Week 1

For two months before summer camp I stressed over every minute detail of my lesson plans. I agonized over how to structure multilevel writing activities. Everything that had to be modeled was scripted, practiced and memorized.  In the weeks leading up to camp, I spent hours making elaborate custom flashcards and decorations for the board in my class. It kept me up at night, worrying if I had made the correct movie choice or if the kids would be bored.  It sounds like overkill, to stress out about a one week program with my students that won't be evaluated formally or informally but the camps are really important to me.  My winter camp students had a leg up on reading, writing and listening skills. They also had a renewed enthusiasm for the subject which was contagious in class.  Sometimes the school textbook is so boring ("Where is the bank, Nami? Go straight and turn left at the corner.), that even fun activities don't really distract from the fact that elementary school students don't care about the material. 

Yes, it sounds like I went a bit overboard with the planning but to be fair, with 20 hours for lesson planning a week I could afford to do it.

Basic Premise:
Theme: Movies (specifically, High School Musical).
Objectives: Learn movie specific vocabulary (actor, director, etc), practice creative writing, and listening skills.

My favorite moment was on Day 3 when we had the students work in small groups to create a short movie scene.  Usually, every 40 minutes we take a break to let the kids get up, go to the bathroom and goof off. We called time for break, the students waited for us to finish talking, and then they ignored us and went back to work. Even my co-teacher was amazed. After class she said to me: 'normally, they really hate writing but they really seem to love this.' The scenes were hilarious and we helped the students figure out the blocking and a little bit of acting.

I love teaching camp. I wish I could always have this much fun with my students.

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