I just got back from teaching a week of Smithsonian Associates Summer Camp. Is it wrong that my first reaction was to think “Ow! I forgot how much this hurt?” I haven’t taught full time (outside the home) in two years. When I got back on Monday night my whole body just ached. I’d been on my feet, walking up and down numerous flights of stairs and across unforgiving concrete…all things I normally do with my two year old…but it just felt different. I think the main difference is that I was more keyed up and “on” then I am when it is one-on-one in my own home.
Aching body aside, it was an awesome week. I had a chance to work with a really inspiring co-teacher (check out her book!), the 1st-3rd graders in my class challenged me in (mostly) good ways and we had a chance to design and develop a “Science Sleuths” camp that pulled on all the unique resources of the Smithsonian.
The other great thing about the week is that it forced me to step back and really think about my practice. I had to plan for 17 kids to stay engaged for 6 hours a day. I had to adapt material and classroom management techniques for kids who didn’t know me, but had to work with me for more for a whole week. There were just lots of ways for me to force myself out of my comfort zone.
So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to share the things I learned and thought about. A little bit practical (classroom management techniques) a little bit soapbox (unstructured play) and some fun new tricks for science play with young kids! Enjoy!