Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Not-So Inner Child

Working at Fun in the Sun (FITs) is kind of like being bipolar. Some days I come home wanting to cry and other days I come home loving my job and considering doing pursuing education for a career. Today was one of the good days.

The good days happen when I tap into my inner child. It's not buried so deep, it turns out. I like to play tag! Sharks and Minnows! Draw pictures! I get drum lessons from Dancing Drum, write in my journal, correspond with my pen pal, and much much more. I also taught some of them to play Set, a card game with patterns, and some of them are really good at it!

I also tap into my inner-camper when I think of field trips for them. I organize outings which I think would be fun for me. For example, today we went to Dominoes Pizza to learn how to make pizza!

We were all invited back to the kitchen, where we washed our hands, and had an interactive pizza-making lesson complete with fancy dough spinning tricks. The guy showing us was talented! A question from a camper: "Have you ever dropped it?" "Yes, I have before!" "Did you drop it on the floor or on the counter?" "On the floor..."

Dominoes donated 3 large pizzas to our group (yay! and now we can write thank you notes) and we went to Ortega Park to eat them and play on the playground.

FITs is really fun when I have a lot of activities planned, guest speakers, or field trips. But when all of the pressure is on me to entertain/teach/discipline them and I don't have anywhere to take them, it can be really stressful. A lot of spontaneity and quick thinking is needed.

I got the Santa Barbara News Press to donate newspapers, so every day we get 13 copies. In the morning I look through it for kid-appropriate articles. (The pickings are slim.)

Once I had them get into groups, pick an article (pre-approved by me) and read it and write a summary and then get into groups and present their story. It was very successful! I arranged the chairs in the classroom as a semi-circle for a mini-stage so they wouldn't be distracted by their desks, and they were surprisingly respectful. Usually they are constantly talking over each other, but this setting worked quite well.

Another newspaper activity I thought of is to have them take crayons and use them as highlighters to learn the different parts of a newspaper article. Red for headline, blue for photo caption, orange for the lead, etc etc. That worked well, and now we have a huge poster of their newspaper artwork.

We do the word jumble collectively on Mondays when it's easy. Some of them like reading the comics (I do!).

Any more ideas for activities using newspapers?

Okay, thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any ideas.


  1. Hello Amber!

    Your new posting is a reminder to your faithful readers that you truly remarkable, an impressive blend of energy, smarts, creativity and the motivation to do well for your students.

    As for newspaper suggestions, I suggest a project involving the comics pages. But wait! Maybe there are none in the Santa Barbara News Press! Yikes! I only see that paper when someone in your family writes something or is depicted in it. Sorry, I can't help. However, I do wish to call your attention to my former posting concerning FREE JOKE BOOKS. I'm still available for that.

    It seems like your excursions have been a big success. How about a walk on the Douglas property, or down the steps to the beach? How about a visit to McConnells Fine Ice Cream factory? Take them all to see Toy Story III (borrow the money from your Dad and I will reimburse him). Take them to the animal shelter where the Jimmy family got Odie and Zippy. Ask Kiora to come by and lead them in a yoga class. When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, yell and shout.

    I don't think I have any more ideas today.

    Love from Grandad

  2. Hi Amber. I know what you mean about the bipolar aspects of teaching. I would like to see you check out the credential program at UCSC - maybe even take a child development class at the community college this summer, to see if you want to have a career as a ateacher. It doesn't have the job security it did in my day, but still has the low salaries it is noted for. However, as I think you have learned from your own experience, it is tremendously rewarding. Keep up the good work!

  3. things to do with newspapers: paper maché sculptures? pirate/sailor hats? history behind the headlines (that was the name of a class last semester here)?

    In an art museum in Cork there was a television playing animated short films that kids at a camp did - just a string of photos put together using movable props that are moved a little for each shot. The kids seemed to have had a lot of fun making characters out of toilet paper rolls and pipe cleaners and paint. They used painted/ drawn cardboard (newspaper?) to set the scenes. Maybe your kids would enjoy a project like that? I dont know how the technical details would work (aka cameras), but its something to think about.