It may have taken all week to get to it, but last Thursday we finally sat down, and made a plan for our summer camp. We did this in two phases. The planning phase, and the design phase.
Planning Phase: This is where we decided what we were going to work on this summer, and how we were going to earn activities. My intention with this phase was to help the kids set goals, and choose how to approach achieving these goals. Putting the control in their hands gives them the ability to invest in the process, which I’m hoping will motivate them.
Before we entered our circle, we took about fifteen minutes for each of us to make a list of things they wanted to do this summer.
I started off the session by reading them the climax of my novel (which I’d just finished that day).
I revealed to them that I’d shared the climax of my novel because my biggest goal for the summer was to write my novel, and that no one could meet their own goals if we didn’t work together.
Then we shared our lists while I wrote them all down. I organized their goals into four lists:
Individual Reward Goals
Big Group Trips
Small Group Trips
Next we took a look at their 4th marking period report cards, and decided where each of them need more work. For both of them it was reading/writing, and math.
We also chose to work on Spanish together, exercise twice a week, and have a day set aside for cleaning.
With all of our lists made, we decided that we were going to approach the camp by way of a two week calendar with tokens we can use to schedule our time.
Two week scheduling
Each individual token is color coded for each of us, and represents a lesson or task. The teenager chose purple, the little picked pink, and I took yellow. We chose green to represent the group.
Then we created a system of earning or unlocking trips and activities where each of us would have the ability to decide to use individual tokens to either earn an individual activity, or put it towards unlocking a group one.
Ten individual tokens unlocks a blue small trip token.
Each foot print is made of felt so velcro backed tokens can stick easily.
Three individual tokens unlocks a red individual activity.
The teenager came up with the gumball machine design to represent earning individual rewards.
Once a blue token has been unlocked and scheduled, it can be moved to the orange chart, where two blue ones will unlock a big orange trip.
A blue token fits in each square creating a nifty math equation we can all understand.
On Friday we stayed in and created our charts, starting with the main planning calendar. I had the teenager measuring out the spacing with a ruler and a pencil, while the little separated the construction paper, and felt into colors, and was responsible for gluing. I hadn’t ever anticipated that this particular activity would have so much learning involved, but designing, and creating rewards charts involves lots of measurements and counting. It was also a little irritating to all of us that it took so long, but getting kids to work hard just to get started is another great way to get them invested in the process.
The biggest thing we discovered is that our charts needed to be lined with felt (or have major felted components), and all the tokens needed a velcro backing. This was to make it easy to move the tokens from chart to chart without getting too complicated.
Day 1- Scheduling & a Spanish lesson
On the first day of camp, we put up all the charts, and were ready to get the ball rolling.
First we ran through how our process would work, and how each of the token could be used to plan our lessons, and moved towards unlocking group and individual activities. Then we jumped right it. We started by scheduling this week’s exercise and cleaning days. Then we scheduled our Math, Reading/Writing, and Spanish lessons. Each week we’ll have an overarching theme which will determine the specific content I intend to weave into our lessons. This week’s theme is “All About Me & You”.
My own tokens I left pretty open since there are always some domestic duties that need to get handled. For example, I need to schedule days for blogging, novel writing, and those crazy little tasks like finally sending school photos to family members, or paying bills, or scheduling medical and dental visits.
I do have a plan on how to execute and plan the lessons, but since I haven’t gotten that far this week, I flew by the seat of my pants with our first Spanish lesson. Using a dry erase board, and some blank word strips, we walked through a very basic conversation. We read, repeated, and role played a conversation that included how to say the following:
Spanish phrases on strips make up a word bank en Espanol.
Nice to meet you.
What is your name?
My name is________.
How old are you?
I am ________ years old.
Then I assigned each of them the task of creating their own skits with the vocabulary we’d used. It was a lot to ask of the little, so we worked this out using the word strips as a word bank from where she could choose the phrases to make up her skit. We did this orally instead of as a writing assignment.
The teenager and I read his skit together, taking up a part each.
When we were done, each child was allowed to move their individual token to the reward chart of their choice. The teen picked the individual chart, and the little chose to strive towards a small group activity.
Just after a preliminary lesson I can see that I’ll need to spend some significant curriculum planning time, and age appropriate modifications are completely necessary. Plus I need a way to reinforce the material throughout the day. No one said summer camp was going to be easy on me.
Stay tuned for updates on the summer of sonnets later today.