Last week we finished up a two-week reading writing camp at Jubilee Academy. There were 12 students from four families, ranging from age 8-19. Teaching this group of young people was such a privilege. Many of the students had been adopted from such places as Liberia, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, and China. I appreciated the multicultural perspectives shared during our time together.
During the camp, I taught research-based reading strategies, such as Reciprocal Teaching. Students examined articles and stories and applied the Reciprocal Teaching strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing. This helped them to slow down and comprehend what they read. It also stimulated discussion that led to deeper understanding of the material and to vocabulary acquisition.
During the writing portion, students had the opportunity to write three pieces. For the first one, we took a nature walk. Each student found an object of interest. We sat in an outdoor “classroom” and students wrote descriptions of what they had found. For the second piece, students brought meaningful objects to camp and wrote narratives about events connected to those objects. For the last piece, students selected from three options–a personal testimony of how God has worked in their lives, what they knew about God, or a letter to a friend telling them about God.
As students worked together, they exchanged meaningful ideas and they had a good time learning strategies that will make them better readers and writers. They also developed friendships that will carry into the school year at Jubilee Academy. Some of the parents decided to enroll at Jubilee while attending the camp.
As a teacher, I can say that this is one of the most delightful groups I’ve ever taught. They were cooperative, attentive, and inquisitive. They worked hard and seemed to have a wonderful time, even though they were doing schoolwork during the summer! Many of the students thanked me for taking the time to teach them. I am so looking forward to working with them this school year.