This summer I hosted a small writing camp for some former students. It was great fun and I hope to grow the program a bit before next summer. I supplied a notebook, colored pencils and a flair pen for my little group of a dozen writers and we talked writing for two days.
My favorite place to get inspiration is outdoors. I shared this with the class and we talked about how to begin using our notebooks in different ways to generate ideas. Our favorite was to make lists of observations while on the trails behind our school. Many of us observed a lot of mosquitoes! Aside from that, it was a great little hike. We parked ourselves on a bench or picnic table and got busy sketching and listing what we saw in preparation for some writing.
I shared methods like webs and circle plans for drawing out the best descriptive words from students and many began writing a poem or short story.
We talked a lot about partner work and how talking with peers can help us make our point more clear or help us clarify our own thinking when sharing our work.
How can you start your own writing camp?
- Begin with some kids you know.
- Find an approved space. I used my half-prepared classroom and of course the outdoor areas.
- Start small. A few days will help you achieve good attendance.
- Keep the materials basic, simple and inexpensive. Students could even just bring a notebook and pen they have from home.
- Use this as a way to brush up on your chart making skills! I created some new charts that I wanted to try out on kids before school begins.
- Plan a fun activity to wrap up your event. I had students create watercolor painting of their final drafts.
- Include a celebration or display for parents to see what their child has been up to. (I hope to do a better job of this next year).
- Most importantly, keep it light and fun. Re-charge your little writers to encourage them to keep going the rest of the summer.
I hope you will think about trying out a little writing camp for your students!