Writing Camp! Of course! Why didn't I think of this sooner? I have held Spanish Camps for kids for over 10 years, but I hadn't thought about having a Writing Camp until last summer. Now an annual event, I want to share some exercises in creativity the kids loved and what I learned the second time around. It seems to work out to have the camp for four days in a row for about three hours each day. A lunch break in the middle of the time works great to refuel and socialize. A poetry recital or reading of some kind at the end will show students their work is valued and show parents what you have been up to! Items you should consider for your camp/campers:
A Cool T-shirt
Hardcover blank books
Sharpie fine tip pens in different colors
Paper and pencils
Cookies and punch for a poetry recital
Fun, creative spirit that encourages taking risks
Sprinkling in creative writing exercises and poetry throughout each day worked well. We played with many different forms of poetry such as: haiku, cinquain, different styles of rhyming poems, free verse, shape poems, acrostics, and the favorite this year- list poems. After students were taught a form, they saw examples, we would try it together, and then they would write. They could then add their poem into their blank books with the sharpie pens. Illustrations were optional and a fun thing to do when waiting for others. Probably the favorite part was sharing poems throughout the time. Besides poems, we did all kinds of writing exercises to flex our creative muscles.
For one exercise, I gave them one minute to list words that were associated with the Fourth of July. After one minute, I told them they were going to write a piece about how they celebrated the Fourth of July, but couldn't use any words from the list. :) You can imagine the looks I got! It forced them to come up with quite interesting ways to describe the "colorful explosions in the sky".
For a similar exercise, I had them write out the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, but they were not allowed to use any words that contained the vowel 'u'. We also did Happy Birthday, without any words containing 'a'. This is a great way to stretch them with their synonym use.
We did some role plays with Show-Don't Tell scenarios and then the students had to write about an emotion someone was experiencing by describing how they were acting instead of stating how they were feeling.
A favorite was a news editorial they had to write about a new health law that was passed that forbid the selling of desserts or candy of any kind. The twist was that each student had to draw who he/she was out of a hat. Some students were elementary kids, some were adults in the food business, some were farmers, some were doctors and dentists, and one person was Michelle Obama! They had a lot of fun expressing their opinions from different points of view.
We did many other exercises throughout the camp, but ended with a time to celebrate their work. Family members were invited to a recital, where each student shared two pieces from the week on a microphone in front of the audience. We had a great time together playing with words, encouraging each other, and sharing our efforts. My hope is that students were inspired to take risks in their writing and that they will infuse some of what they learned as they continue to write. I feel blessed to have worked with such an amazing group of young authors.