SOL- June 23, 2015
Summer School Week 3
This week the numbers are lower, so it is all a bit quieter at camp. One of the sweet children in my first group told me that every night she can’t wait to go to bed so that she can come to summer school the next day. Yesterday she wondered why she has to choose a second activity (even though she really likes her second activity) and today she asked why there isn’t a fourth week of summer school. I can not figure out why she loves it so much. The premise is simple. Every day we start together and I read aloud a picture book or two based on my chosen theme for the day (today I shared a few Kevin Henkes books). Then they are free to read, write, plan- really anything they want. In the first group today most of the students were busy acting out a story one had written (as I videoed for them). It amazed me how they adlibbed along the way and negotiated their way through a long and complicated storyline written by a student who started the year in third grade hating writing. Of course there was reading going on too and planning about part 2 of the story (several of them ride the same bus and agreed to plan more then). At the end we watched a quick stop motion trailer one of the students had made and another asked her to teach her how to create one tomorrow.
In the second session today we looked at wordless picture books by Molly Idle (Flora and the Flamingo and Flora and the Penguin). We talked about how you could tell stories with only pictures and we shared what the story we were seeing was. Then we read Good News Bad News and talked about how a few words repeated could tell such a great story. These are important messages for these beginning readers and writers. As they went off they were making cards for friends, writing lists, making maps, and creating. One child read by himself the whole time, while another kept bringing me books to read aloud as he worked. Near the end one of the students got restless and I pulled out some Lego. He and two others sat there and talked through what they were creating and what they were imagining.
It is lovely to have this gift of time with the students. It is a time for them to try out many different things with a small group of people (or alone in a quiet corner with materials readily at hand). Each group is multiage, so new friendships are being forged and they are learning much from each other. On Friday we will have a farewell get together as a whole summer school and the students will have the chance to share. I will ask them over the next three days to record some reflections. I think that they will say what they liked the best was time.