Day 3 of writing tech camp is in the books! My how time will fly. We spent the first half of the day doing our writing marathon. For those of you who are not familiar with the National Writing Project and their work, participants of the summer institute do a writing marathon where we visited different places and wrote. With the middle schoolers, we visited the campus greenhouse, the sports arena complex, and the library. The students not only had various places and items to motivate and inspire them to write, but they learned about some wonderful places on CMU campus.
Upon completing our marathon and returning to our lab, the students took time to cool down and eat their lunch. Then, we had another guest speaker talk with the students. Our free-lance writer writes for the CMU paper and shared two short videos with the students about her trip to Mexico where her and some other students who are going into teaching, worked with students who had very little. The video was great and she used it as a lead into a discussion about how our writing should be as if we are looking through a video camera lens. Our writing should invoke all our senses. We should use as many senses to appeal to the readers of our writing. She completed a writing activity with the students that allowed them to choose from several different prompts and then the campers found ways to make their writing better by answering some questions that surrounded the prompt. In addition, they learned synonyms that made their writing stronger. For instance, words like polite, kind, friendly, likable, and charming can be used instead of “nice”.
To conclude our day, the campers worked on completing their pieces of writing from the marathon we embarked on earlier in the day. I posted two discussions on Youthvoices and the campers need to post to those discussions. In addition, we had them continue to work on the stories they did with our guest speaker as “free-lance writers”. The other co-director decided we also wanted the campers to go back and “polish” their writing so that it wasn’t completely riddled with errors. I know there are professionals out there that would put more emphasis on grammar, sentence structure, etc. However, I am more interested in hearing the participants ideas and seeing them transform their ideas into pieces of writing, no matter what mode that writing may take on. In addition, it is important that the students express their great ideas into a piece of writing that represents them. We can worry about the polishing later.
Now that we are nearing the end, I have been reflecting back on the past few days and I am thrilled with the group of campers we have. They have great ideas and their word choice is incredible when it comes to their writing. Our guest speakers have been truly impressed with the originality of the their ideas.
I would definitely give the students more time in between the places we visited, so the students have more time to write. I feel as if they were rushed today as we went around campus. Furthermore, I would like the students to use more technology like podcasts for their poems and such. More thoughts on that to come.
I am saddened to say tomorrow is our last day, but I am excited for the fact the students get to take some time at the end to share with us and their parents what they have been doing all week. It should be a great time as we discuss research and the food industry. I can’t wait to blog about it tomorrow. Until then…