And so, the Spring break is over, it blew past me like a brisk April gale force wind (yes, Mother Nature, I am taking a dig at your weather). I thought I would be conscientious, and write my review of the Spring camp on the Saturday after the camp, but it was sunny and beautiful, and there were far too many chocolate bunnies in the universe, so I went ahead and had myself a (long) weekend of pure pleasure. It did me a world of good, and now I’m ready to spill the (jelly)beans about the week.
The theme of the camp was Color and Nature, which meant a LOT of color theory, which tied in nicely with looking at work by Alma Thomas, and Henri Matisse. Pretty much all the work was big, bright, and happy, and the kids oohed and aahed over all the lovely colors they mixed up. As usual, we kept things as messy as possible (I have never been so happy to not be making art at home – the new venue worked beautifully) and did some painting, some printmaking, and some Matisse inspired paper cuts.
The kids particularly enjoyed a big group project inspired by Alma Thomas. I particularly enjoyed the fact that each kid actually managed to carve a printing block, and print successfully with it – a major feat for their age group (7-9 years old). I’m seriously impressed by those kids, they really explored each project fully. And guess what, the weather was nice enough to play outdoors almost every day, pretty pleased with that.
Here are some thoughts/memories from the week:
- Seven, eight and nine year olds ALL want to be the boss. There is a constant, low key, Machiavellian power struggle in the classroom. It kept me on my toes for the whole week.
- The playground was just as important as the classroom for learning. Watching a bunch of kids organize themselves when playing a game is fascinating. Creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, conflict resolution are all learnt in the playground. Shorten a recess at your own peril.
- I managed to teach the kids to play ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’, and ‘Sticky, Sticky Grapes’, and they taught me to play ‘Museum’ and ‘Pac Man tag’. I realized that they NEVER get tired.
- When two kids meet for the first time, the first question they ask is “how old are you?, often followed by “How much do you weigh?”. The answers to these questions will decide the nature of their relationship for a very long time.
- After telling the kids over and over again to be very careful around smaller children at the playground , I heard a piercing wail from the play set. Running to the rescue, I discovered an eight year old crying “a baby stepped on my hand!”. Hmmmm.
- Elementary school kids LOVE white boards – writing on them, erasing them, pretending to be the teacher; as far as they are concerned, it’s the best thing about my new room!
- Most overheard statements during the week: “I’m telling on you!”, “that’s unfair”, “I loooove this piece, it’s the BEST!!”, “I’m the master of the playground!”, “You’re my best friend now”.
I guess it is time to start planning the Summer camps now!