Adventures at Camp Galileo- Orienting and Small Talking

by - Monday, June 03, 2013

From the Camp Galileo Facebook Page
Alright, so this summer I am being a lead instructor for Camp Galileo in Palo Alto. Camp Galileo is a day camp, started in PA by a Stanford grad, that has exploded into like 35 camps over a pretty short period of time.  I am a star art instructor, which means I am teaching first and second graders art.

I could not be more psyched about this.

First of all, I am pretty sure a summer of being silly, being with kids, and making stuff should heal my soul. I am just so excited to spend a summer making art instead of just talking about it. Secondly, Camp Galileo has a pedagogical philosophy (The Innovator process) that I really believe in. In some ways, it reminds me so much of the writing center- it stresses collaboration, the courage to generate original ideas (especially crazy ones), and the determination to work with mistakes, rather than seeing them as failing. I really think that this philosophy is similar to mine, and I am really looking forward to putting it into action.

Of course, I am also super scared, because I want to do a great job, but I know I am up against a solid learning curve.

Last weekend was the 2 day orientation, the official beginning of all of this excitement. It was overwhelming. Since the camps have gotten so large, there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. They break it up quickly into your own camp staff, but it is still a lot of new people to meet and get to know. About half of the staff are returning, and they have a longstanding dynamic, so you feel a bit like you are crashing someone else's party. By the end of the weekend, i was feeling pretty worn out with meeting new people (which can be a real challenge for me- I usually clam up if I hit a limit), but I was proud of myself for staying open and I really liked everyone that I got to know.

The staff really knows they are training you for a summer of camp-style fun, so you spend a lot of time at orientation doing cheers, making projects, and playing games. That part was really really fun (and impressive- people come up with crazy good cheers!).We learned some of the songs, and if you asked, people would fill you in on the traditions. It all seems very fun.

I hope that this will give me a chance to see how I do with managing a classroom full of small kids. I was so impressed with how the staff modeled their interactions with a whole class, and I hope I can get the hang of it by the end of the summer.

I also learned a lot more about the curriculum I will be teaching and how to create and manage materials for the classroom. Since I am leaving for Pennsylvania tomorrow (Yay!!) I went and bought my supplies for decorating to get started tonight and to bring with me. I will start posting things as I get them done. My hope is to give daily updates on how camp is going. It is going to be a great summer and a busy/hard one.

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