Monday, July 6, 2015

Naturally Inspired Camp for Elementary Schoolers

I love bright colors, photos, pretty papers, and art supplies!
These are some of the ones I brought
from home to share with the kids.
This past week in Naturally Inspired Camp we spent time enjoying the beauty of nature.  I taught each person how to use my digital cameras, so they could take photos around campus of various trees, plants, insects, and favorite spots in The Wishing Woods. 
A number of the poems we read together came from two of my favorite poetry books to use when I teach creative writing to this age group (1st-3rd graders): Poetry Speaks to Children, which comes with a CD recording of many of the poets reading their own work.  The other main book we referred to is The Bill Martin Jr.’s Big Book of Poetry, which includes a number of classic verses you’d likely recognize by well-known authors as well as illustrations by some of the most popular figures in children’s literature. 

I hung and placed colorful artwork and photos wherever they looked along with word games and other writing prompts to help get their creative juices flowing.  With a puppet theater, magnetic poetry, animal and nature prints scrapbooking paper, a colorful assortment of art supplies, photos, stencils, and their own very active imaginations, they were naturally inspired to write, draw, take photos, and express themselves through poetry, art, and impromptu skits. 

I’m very impressed with their work.  I loved reading and seeing what they came up with.  We were also amused by the group discussions we had.  Many of the boys stated snakes are their favorite animal.  

After we read Imogene’s Antlers, I asked everyone what feature of an animal they’d like to have and why.  Most of the girls (and both teachers) answered that we’d like to have wings so we could fly.  

When someone asked me if I’d want to have butterfly wings, I answered in a very practical fashion that I’d prefer to have stronger wings, ones that were proportionally large enough so that I could actually get off the ground.  “If you get the feature, I bet it comes in your size,” was the immediate response of a wise young girl.  How could I argue with that?! 

I simply couldn’t resist putting out the little miniature erasers in the shape of flip-flops that I found in the supply closet.  When one of the boys made a mistake while writing, I had to laugh at his simple proclamation on the way to retrieve one: “I need a flip-flop!” 

On Friday, I asked the kids what activity they liked best over that week.  A couple said writing poetry, others taking photos, then several decided they liked all of it.  I know I had fun writing, reading, taking photos, hearing their discussions, and doing artwork.  The assistant teacher said she really enjoyed it, too.  Yippee, Naturally Inspired Camp was a success!

Check back, I may include some of the poetry I wrote and photos I took in another post.
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