Day #16

Sleepy…

I’m not going to lie…Right now I am exhausted and I really need to sleep. It isn’t so much as a result of a long day with the kids, it’s more so a result of a long day in general. We had a really long planning session tonight with the entire team, and as much as it was productive and enjoyable, it also helped to accentuate the conflicting personalities in our group. In some respects these conflicts are helpful as they prevent one person from completely dominating camp planning, but in other ways they are particularly grating.

During relatively in depth planning discussions I am inclined to ‘cut the crap’ in most situations and just get straight to the point. Without being hurtfully blunt, I like to get right to the heart of the matter and not dance around the edges. My two housemates on the other hand have a much different way of dealing with difference. Both are inclined to hold extremely strong opinions that are rarely ever explicitely expressed. The favourite phrase in the house right now is, ‘I feel as though…’ This is great because it makes it seem like everyone is just making suggestions, but in fact everything that is said using this phrase is an explicit demand or deep seated opinion. It is somewhat frustrating sometimes to always be reading between the lines of a discussion to find the true meaning of each statement. I know that in contrast to this I must come across as being somewhat blunt, but frankly I don’t see the point in dancing around an issue. You may as well deal with it calmly and straight on…in the long run it allows everyone to move past the mainly minor disagreements quickly. I think that it perhaps comes down to being able to separate personal feelings from business discussion. It is quite unlikely that either of my housemates could say anything to me about camp that would affect my personal opinion of them. I don’t mean to sound like I know everything that is going on, or that I have no flaws in my own style of conflict resolution…however…at this exact moment I just need to rant a little bit, so thanks for listening!

That being said, today was a largely positive one. The weather here was quite nice until this evening when the wind picked up to about 45 km/h and it started to rain. It has now cooled off considerably…My experience at camp today was also enjoyable. I had a great morning working with a group of 7 year olds with very limited literacy skills. I managed to interest them in playing a game called Pictureka for a solid 20 minutes, which was a minor miracle. As Mr. Semple pointed out to me today, Age=Attention Span, so I was extremely pleased with the Pictureka activity! Then I even got them to write a short journal entry. It is funny how your perspective on success changes as your students or campers change. Today I felt like I had just hit a home run when we finished up journal time with a total of 5 words + 1 sentance each on our papers. It is a small amount of writing, but within the context of the overall battle against illiteracy, I think that it is a rather large victory! Finally, to end off our morning together I was able to convince my small group to start planning out a short story to write and read to the youngest kids in camp. My 7 year olds were really excited to be given the responsibility to come up with a story for the young kids, and we made a great start on a story plan.

After my successful morning with the 7 year olds I spent the afternoon with our group of 10 & 11 year olds. I may have mentioned this before, but yeah, musical chairs=hours of uninterupted fun for this group! We of course want to make sure that camp doesn’t turn into one big musical chairs tournament, but it is a godsend when you need a 10 minute filler activity! Anyway, our 10s and 11s took a little while to get into today’s activities, but once they did we got some really good work done. We had each camper create their own ‘personal logo’ complete with a slogan. I created my own logo as well, which I was pretty proud of…it was the best artwork that I have done since about grade 6.

Alright, well that pretty much covers the day at camp…

In other news, my guitar arrived in Fort Hope last night, so I picked it up today. It appears to be intact, and in working order. Too bad I don’t know how to play it yet…that project begins tomorrow night! Okay, and I really need to just rant a quick bit more…It is well known to my teammates that I am a songwriter and into music. I have been planning to start running some music activities out of the school in the evenings starting next week and have been attempting to figure out the best ways in which to implement it in camp. It is my hope that I will be able to get a few interested kids to write their own lyrics and complete their own songs. That being said, songwriting is an inexact science and I myself haven’t yet landed upon the keys to writing it, let alone teaching it. My teammates have a little bit of a hard time understanding this and are really on my case to come up with some songwriting activities. I want to start out extremely basic with the kids and lay some groundwork, before moving onto writing ‘pop’ material. In a perfect world I want to do some rhythm and melody work before I even consider having the kids try to make up a little song. As of tonight I have been assigned the ‘manageable’ (not my words) task of creating an entire songwriting curriculum for camp to commence on Monday. I’m sure that I’ll come up with something, I just wish that someone could understand the number of skills that have to converge in order to write a song. It definitely isn’t as easy as it sounds (even at a purely elementary level).

Okay, I’m sorry if I sound a little bit frustrated, but it’s good to blow off a little steam here and there. I’m not actually mad or irritated, actually my mental place is pretty good right now, I would perhaps describe myself as feeling a bit steamrolled right now, or maybe a bit flabbergasted, but nothing too serious. I’m ready to fight another day, and all in all I am still having a really good time here in Fort Hope.

Oh, and just to clear things up, I really am enjoying my time with my teammates, and overall we enjoy each other’s company and are working well together. I’m sure that they have their gripes about me as well, so we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, and I’m sure things will continue to be great…

–Be kind to each other and don’t fall down…

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