The theme of the last two weeks of camp was Myths and Legends, it was a popular choice.
The moment I introduced the theme to the kids there was a LOT of squealing and jumping up and down, which then turned into a discussion about Greek myths, which then turned into a heated discussion about Percy Jackson….and Harry Potter…and Hogwarts, and we all know how that ended. It was the ultimate geek-off, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Yes, I can solidly state that Myths and Legends week was a very good theme to pick.
We looked at creation myths from all over the world and the origins of fairy tales. We had great discussions about similarities between different myths, and how stories have been passed down through generations, and migrations. Of course, this meant I got to read the kids lots of stories, and they got to impress me with their own stories. I realized that this particular age group love to work around, and tell stories. Indeed, for a lot of kids it made a nice break from the many abstract projects and concepts we have been working on so far.
So we learned about the aboriginal dream time, and the rainbow serpent, and painted our own dreamings. We read about Minotaurs, Gorgons and the ancient Greek pantheon; we studied different mosaic techniques and made bean and lentil mosaics, all while listening to Percy Jackson on audio book. Then we made very unsuccessful jelly bean mosaics, because somehow the jelly beans kept mysteriously disappearing. We also read Native American, and Siberian myths about trickster Ravens and the creation of the sky, and made sky boxes and raven collages. We made illustrations, and books, talked about minimalism, and made a huge, upsetting mess during a Marc Chagall project.
The kids threw me a party at the end of the last week, complete with cards, chocolate, and a HUGE banner, and my heart swelled to ten times it’s size.
And now I’m left with a large banner, a lot of boxes to unpack, and an urge to read as many Percy Jackson books as I can get my hands on. Also, I keep throwing balls to other adults, in the hope that they will play with me. Yep, I miss recess badly.
Some more things I learned at camp
- Saying “don’t shoot” to a kid with a water gun is a surefire way to get drenched.
- The introduction of any kind of metallic paint/pen/pencil will make kids instantly more excited about a project.
- Playing audio books in the class room is an excellent idea; everyone was so much more focused.
- The most successful projects were the ones where kids learned about another time or culture. Putting art against a historical/cultural context always makes learning and understanding stronger.
- Saying the word “poop” will always lighten any situation.
- It’s good to have very different techniques and projects in each camp. Kids have different strengths and weaknesses, and you need to build success into everyone’s week.
- Drop back during lunch times. Kids need their own space without a teacher around.
- Never leave clean up until the last day of camp, get most of it done the day before. No one wants to spend the last day cleaning – it’s party time!!!
- Wear outfits with pockets. Trust me, this is very important.
- Pack extra silverware. Someone always forgets a spoon or fork.
- Kids don’t care whether your throat is hoarse, if you started reading a story, you had better finish it (with all the voices).
- Let the kids teach you something from time to time, they are amazing at it.
- Go with the flow. If everyone looks tired stop the project, after all it’s not school.
- When making jelly bean mosaics, buy twice as many jelly beans as you think you may need.