At The Cabin’s Picture This camps, students take their storytelling to new levels of creativity by combining words and pictures, using various forms of craft and visual art to inspire and enhance their writing.
Last week, instructor Guisela’s group spent time writing and illustrating their own handmade books.
We love it when campers decorate The Cabin’s outdoor walkways with imaginative chalk art and stories!
At the end of camp, rather than holding a public reading like our other writing camps, Picture This students get to put on a gallery show!
Parents, friends and relatives are invited to The Cabin’s Jean B. Wilson Room where the walls are decorated with the very best pieces of writing and artwork by each of the campers.
Hollie McCrea, The Cabin’s summer intern, is the person responsible for writing most of the wonderful posts on this blog so far. She was a fabulous addition to The Cabin staff--helping with camps, the website, this blog, and whatever other random tasks we threw at her--and we’re really going to miss her now that she’s going back to school.
Thank you Hollie! We wish you the best.
This week Idaho Writing Camps are being offered up in Hailey, Idaho at The Center in Hailey, (a part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts). Kerri and Malia, two of our most experienced teaching-writers, are up there working with Sun Valley's young writers.
Here are some pictures of their time so far!
We can't wait to see more pictures and read the great writing that comes out of these camps.
Popsicle poetry is a fun way to get students excited about writing in the summertime. All that is needed for this sweet, summer activity are a few Popsicle sticks and some markers.
On each stick, write down creative words, phrases, and sentences. Remember, they don't have to "go together" at all. In fact, oftentimes the end result is more fun if they don't match up! Decorate as many Popsicle sticks as you wish. Once you've finished, organize them in whatever way you see fit. What appear to be disconnected ideas often come together to form thought provoking, interesting, and silly poetry. Reorganize the Popsicle sticks over and over again to see how many different poems you can make with the same lines.
Take a look at a couple examples that writing instructor Genna's past Word Play camps did as a group:
So, instead of throwing away the sticks after after you finish those tasty summertime treats, save them to create even sweeter Popsicle poetry! Feel free to send us pictures of your special poems once you've finished at email@example.com and we'll be sure to publish them online! Happy writing!
Fearless teacher, Malia, chose to take on a combined group of Word Play and Cabin Writers this week and enjoyed every minute of it. Malia did a superb job of finding activities that all her campers would enjoy and learn from.
Malia just has two rules for her campers, which she explains to them on the first day:
The campers agree that these are fair rules for a summer writing camp and have taken advantage of all the fun, inspirational activities and places they've experienced all week long to comply with Malia's requests.
On Monday, campers started off the day playing "Two Truths and a Lie" to jumpstart their wild imaginations. In the game, each person conjurs up three facts about themselves: two that are true and one that's a lie. It's the rest of the group's job to guess which is the lie.
After getting to know each other better the group headed to a dock by the river. On the way they carefully examined their surroundings and worked on describing them using their five senses. The campers shared ideas with the group about what they saw, heard, smelled, touched and, at times, tasted. One student thought that the nearby sprinklers sounded "like elephants on a mudslide!"
A little farther down the Greenbelt, Malia had her campers got up close and personal with a tree (below). Students gazed at, touched, and smelled the green giant while Malia taught them how to use similies as a vehicle for their unique observations. One camper piped up, “The tree smells like guinea pigs three days after they get a bath." Camp is just littered with funny, creative similes!
Once the campers reached their destination, Malia had them take in the different scenery that the Boise River offers.
They looked at everything from the beautiful cottonwood and catalpa canopy stretching over the dock...
...to the river flowing right in front of (and below) them.
After this observation exercise, Malia explained a poetic form called “lune,” a variant of haiku
that focuses on word count rather than syllable count. Campers wrote three-line poems of 3/5/3 words describing things from their list.
Then it was back to The Cabin where campers wrote "I remember" statements using concrete language to illustrate brief snapshots of memories. One camper remembered “waking up in a hotel room with my sister’s feet in my face.”
For the last activity of the day, students hung their wonderful memories from the branches of the "Poe-tree" for all to see! Now that numerous groups have added all sorts of poetry to our backyard tree it appears to have leaves of every color of the rainbow. Stop by and check out all the wonderful work these students created for the community!
Camp instructor Malia Collins teaches her students hula moves from her native Hawai'i as part of a unit on storytelling.
We are so lucky to be right on the Greenbelt so that our campers can just walk over to the Art Museum, Historical Museum, Zoo and more for inspiration.
The Boise Zoo provided lots of inspiration for our Word Play and Cabin Writers students this week. Being around the animals allows the students to think outside of the classroom. These students found a table at the zoo to write about the animals using similes, the five senses and personification.
Here the students pose for a picture while in the prairie dog tunnels. They went in there to closely observe the animals and their actions. Their observations were great material for poems and stories.
At the end of the trip, the campers got together for a group photo.
Camp is a great place for kids who love to write to meet other kids who love to write. It provides an opportunity to create a unique and special community of young writers.
As yet another week of camp comes to a close, we are overjoyed to know that even more treasured memories have been made and 50 more students' lives have been enriched by the power and pleasure of writing. Each teacher and camp provide different opportunities for students weekly. That in combination with the dozens of new campers that each week brings ensures that camp dynamics continuously change. Breakthroughs, uplifting moments, and sweet memories experienced and created at camp are different, although equally as golden, for every group of students, every camp, and every individual who has been or will be a part of Idaho Writing Camps this summer. Among this variation, though, one thing remains steadfast: each child leaves camp with the encouraging knowledge that words work wonders and that they have the capacity to craft these wonders with nothing more than their magnificent imaginations.
It is nearly impossible to capture the fun-filled, productive moments experienced by all of the camps this week. However, even taking a look at just one camp provides wonderful insight in to what camp is about. Take a gander at a few memories made by Malia's afternoon Cabin Writers:
(P.S. The tree poems are still blowing in the breeze! Come on down to the Cabin to enjoy them and if you get you're timing right, you might just make it to one of our two outdoor readings today. Every Friday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. campers share their favorite pieces that they've written for family, friends and members of the community. Come on out and join us!)
Of course, all campers who attend summer camp are valued writers of The Cabin, but it's our 5th and 6th grade camp, Cabin Writers, that I wish to bring to light this week. In this camp, students get to explore the area surrounding the Cabin using the Boise Art Museum, the Julia Davis Rose Garden and the banks of the Boise River to inspire unique writing. Sounds fun, right? Well here is just a small window into the wonderment that is Cabin Writers.
Last week, Christian Winn and his Cabin Writers spent the whole first day outside learning about personification and descriptive detail.
Brainstorming all of that wonderful sensory detail allowed the campers' imaginations to bloom enough to write love stories about their favorite roses. While this camper wrote and illustrated a charming story about a woman who gave a man a rose so beautiful it made him faint and instantly fall in love with her upon regaining consciousness...
Our youngest campers are going into 3rd or 4th grade. Their camp is called Word Play. This camp engages the five senses and plays with language as a path to writing imaginative poems and stories. The students visit nearby parks, the zoo and learn fun activities to jumpstart writing.
Below are some pictures from one of this week's Word Play camps.