Slice of Life: Inquisitive Kids at Writing Camp

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

You may know this feeling if you have ever imagined and then brought to reality a writing camp in the summer. In the hour before camp starts, you wonder: will anyone actually come? They signed up. But will they get out of bed and get here? And then, they do arrive, and you realize, this was a great idea!

That was me, and my colleagues, yesterday, as middle school kids arrived at the Springfield Armory Historical Site for our week-long free summer writing camp. It was a relief that they showed up.

And then we had a fantastic day of looking through and writing about primary source images from the Armory’s history, touring the historic buildings on the grounds of the site, learning about innovation exhibits on the museum floor, and pretending to be innovators in the manufacturing of a “lock plate.”

What great campers! What a great day!

And today, we get to write and to explore once again.

This is the second year of our Minds Made for Stories project, which is funded by the Mass Humanities organization with support by the National Writing Project and the National Park Service. I am the head facilitator of the camp through my work with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, and our student campers all come from a social justice magnet school in our main urban center, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Peace (from the past to the future),


    • We explored Women and the WW2 Homefront today, with primary source images and propaganda posters, and a historical re-enactor who engaged the kids with cultural artifacts.

  1. This camp sounds like so much fun, and I love that you’ve included the smiling faces who got out of bed and made a commit to work on their craft! Good luck with day two, and thank you for sharing!

  2. Love this, Some of my 6th grade writing club members would have jumped at the summer writing camp opportunity! And the site is a fascinating twist.

  3. “They signed up. But will they get out of bed and get here?”

    Look at that group that showed up! Amazing! I love that you are on-site where students can be inspired by their surroundings daily.

    Have you tried the “What if?” strategy with them? It may be an interesting idea-generator given your location! Have a grand time inspiring the minds of our youth!

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