Teacher, Parent & Presenter Testimonials
From Ms. Carley Henze:
A change I made this year as English teacher was requesting blank notebooks for the students to write in. This way, the chance of losing papers was almost eliminated and without the lines it opened up opportunity for students to write and make their thinking visual in more creative non-linear ways. It also showcased all the work that students had done day to day and at the end of the month most students had student had almost filled up their entire blank notebook! There were 3 main goals that I had set out for the students and I when I began planning the scope and sequence of our lessons. Some of the themes and ideas we discussed were overcoming adversity, how facing adversity can make people stronger and Indigenous issues and topics today in Canada and the world. We used these engaging and interesting discussion topics and ideas as a vehicle for us to achieve the goals I had in mind. Overall, it was another successful July and I look forward to another year in 2018 J
Free Writing: A goal in English this summer camp was to build up writing stamina and our ability to generate ideas. We called this our “Free Writing” Time. Free Writing means that there is total freedom from worrying about spelling or grammar or writing in properly formatted sentences- the idea is to just write write write! And try not to stop for the whole time. We began first with 4 minutes and then each day or two we added more time. By the end, our free writing time lasted up to 15 minutes straight of writing! Students learned that they could focus on generating ideas first and that once they have the ideas written down onto paper they could always go back and edit or revise. The students practiced their ability to focus their ideas onto a single task and concentrate, growth and improvement was seen in each and every student!
Discussion & Dialogue: Each day the students were given opportunities to discuss ideas and share their writing with the rest of the class. The students practiced starting discussion with people they might not know very well and also worked on their ability to keep discussion and conversation going when they feel they may have “finished talking”. Just like writing, discussing and talking about ideas with others is also a skill that we can work on as life long leaners.
Mind Mapping & Visual Thinking/note taking: A thinking strategy that we learned was Mind Mapping & how to use colour, layout, font and imagery to make our thinking visible. The students watched videos and real time examples of how mind mapping can be a non-linear alternative to typical sentence by sentence note taking or brainstorming. As we watched videos and documentaries the students practiced and practiced their visual thinking & mind mapping- a skill all of them can take with them to the next school year!
Here are some of the videos we watched as an introduction.
UPDATE: Watch more videos here www.sketcho-frenzy.weebly.com . I see that a lot of people have been asking about how I made the video, I actually drew everything by hand first, turned them into vector graphics in Adobe ...
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My son comes home every day with news of the camp. At first it was about the people he was meeting and getting to know. Then it was a new math question every day, that he would explain to all of us. The Friday that he had to miss he asked a friend to send him any new math questions. I have to say that he has enjoyed most outing but by far the "battery" trip has taken the lead. He was very animated that night and said he asked a lot of questions while there. He also sings the praises of both the math and English teachers. He has always liked math but for him to enjoy English is really something. He was quite upset to learn that he still had to take English in University, but maybe now it will be more than something to endure.
My son was very delighted to meet new friends in class, I was very amazed at his determination to get up each morning on a summer holiday to attend class. He would speak of some of the activities that they'd do and turned into a little chatter box. He speaks to me about his writing for English, and he just loves math, I just hope that he keeps it up when he goes back to high school in September. He did find some of the physical activities a bit different, but I guess he just needs to adapt to change, not sure if you guys ask the students for any suggestions for next time? But may be a great idea. I personally feel this was an excellent choice for him for summer school, and I love his determination to being responsible and earning his own money while doing so. I have noticed a lot of changes in my boy, he is becoming a very mature young man, thank you for giving him this opportunity for the summer, I hope that this happens again next year
I am very pleased with what changes my daughter seems to have brought into her daily life. Very positive changes in her behavior and to top it all off she is already saying to me this evening, she wants to attend next year as well if the opportunity is there again.
Overall I am very happy and pleased to see her new outlook on her education.
My daughter is enjoying this year quite a bit, though I think she misses some of her friends from last year. Last year's camp brought about the biggest changes in her attitude towards school, and math in particular, which is being carried over into this year's camp. She has always wanted to go to post secondary, but this has definitely reinforced that idea for her and helped her realize that she can accomplish her goals and also given her people and contacts she can make use of to help her get where she wants to go.
I don't believe she has had any negative comments or thoughts about the camp at all and we are extremely impressed and grateful to all of you who have made this camp possible and worked with the kids to help them out. Camp has exceeded our expectations both last year and this year.
We have a 15 year old son and another 13 year old daughter who I would love to see in this program next summer, though I am not sure our daughter would do it. Our son, however, I believe would possibly enjoy the opportunity. I would very much appreciate it if I could have an application form sent to me for the kids next year so I can at least offer them the opportunity to try out.
My daughter really enjoys her time at the summer camp! She loves interacting with the other students and is learning a lot from the teachers in the camp. She seems to be more interested in her academics. The tricks that she had learnt in her math class seem to have significantly help her and she is more confident with math. My daughter really appreciated being able to make a drum during class, but had wished that she could have done some carving. Her favourite field trip was going to the the Museum of Anthropology because she was able to learn more able her Aboriginal heritage. My daughter said that if she were given the opportunity to go back next year, she would definitely go!
Thank you so much for all that you and the other members of the camp have done, we really appreciate it!
I have spoken to my son about this experience and it was a very positive one. I have to say that he did not really know what to expect and may have been a little hesitant at first, however he really enjoyed the classes.
He actually enjoyed Math class the most and the structure of the class was very conducive to learning- without pressure.
I personally love the drum he brought back and I really do appreciate all the work and organizing it takes to create a program that is so well balance with academic learning and cultural and social initiatives.
I really do hope that he continues on to post secondary and depending on his path SFU would be a great place. I actually attended SFU for an a short time before going into the arts but I still feel very proud to be able to say that attended SFU!
Again thank you and your colleagues for all the extra effort into making the program so great not just for my son but for all the students - I hope you have received a lot of positive feedback.
Hi Veso, just a quick note of additional thanks for the event last Tuesday. I don't spend much time with young people (not by choice) and so it was a real treat to share some of my ideas with them. Of course it's much easier to idealize young people in small doses, ha, ha.
Please give your students my kindest regards.
My pleasure, Veselin. I applaud you for all the work you do in organizing and promoting the camp.