Great first day of camp! It was terrific to see so many faces from past years and to meet lots of new campers. Our wonderful teaching artist, Matt Cody, plunged us into getting to know one another immediately with a Silly Movement Name Game, Icebreaker Bingo and Story Ball, which generated the unforgettable line, “Last full moon the Sasquat said that potatoes vomit and eat purple rutabagas while jumping over the Grand Canyon.” Teamwork and hilarity were plentiful. Yes, camp has begun.
One of the Monday traditions is the Mini Book Club. Campers spend eight minutes discussing one of the five books of the week in small groups. When the bell rings, each person moves to another book discussion, then another, etc. Opinions are expressed as well as questions. Luckily, there will be a chance to ask each author some of the questions raised.
Our first guest author was Laura Amy Schlitz who wrote Splendors and Glooms. We returned from lunch to find a table loaded with interesting boxes, figurines, books, and a big stack of paper tied with a big red ribbon.
Laura started off by telling us a story, The Bearskinner, an enthralling tale that captivated the room. After that, we learned about her life and how she became a writer: she started off wanting to be an actress, but she was always writing. She shared one of her very first poems, lyrically entitled “I Hate Her.” She kept writing, never finishing anything, and kept wanting to act. Finally, while acting in a children’s theater troupe, she started writing plays for it, and decided that she was better at writing.
She shared her successes – including a Newbery Award – and her challenges – including never being able to finish anything, and a great tip for anyone who procrastinates: the Half-Hour / One-Page method. By telling herself she only has to write for thirty minutes, or until she has filled one page, AND that it does not have to be good, she found herself feeling free of pressure. Try it!
After a great Q&A session about Splendors and Gloom, she gave a very enjoyable writing assignment. Everyone chose a shadow puppet from the many she had brought with her. They were to name it, describe something that had happened in its past, list its fears and desires, and finish the sentence: “____ was the kind of _____ who . . .” and let a character description flow from there. Then campers got in groups of three and began the process of incorporating their three characters into a story, a process that will continue throughout the week.
Wearing their new bright yellow Thalia Book Club Camp T-shirts and supplied with the new interactive novel by Pseudonymous Bosch, Write This Book, twenty-four happy campers finished Day One of camp.
Tomorrow brings Wendy Mass and a field trip to Scholastic.