Cougar Camp – we hold it every year. It’s exciting to meet the new students, especially since I teach 6th graders. I’ve been at my school now for 3 years and this was the best attended camp we’ve had to date. I think that our principal is one of the reasons. She is building a lot of trust in the community. I think she’s helping build morale among the staff as well.
So what do we do at Cougar Camp? There is a brief introduction in a main assembly. This year it was less than 20 minutes! Then, parents and students go with groups and have a 7 period day, which is, coincidentally, the same number of class periods we have every day. I so much prefer something like this to sitting down and listening for 3 hours! In each camp class period someone gives teachers and students information that will help them get ready for middle school. Then, after all 7 class periods, they meet back in the cafeteria for an introduction to Project Based Learning. In short, we orient them to the process of school, and then we orient them to one of our teaching methods.
We were quoted on this in our local paper last year, and got some very negative comments, so I, of course, repeated it to the crowd: As you work on your projects, some of you will fail. That’s ok. But it’s only ok if you learn something from it so that when you do it again you can succeed the next time. It was fun to see parents and students work on the project. Interestingly enough, no one built the way I envisioned what I would do! We had some creative ideas though. And, just for the record, my idea wasn’t original, I adapted it from a DI challenge I found online.