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2023 Camp Summary

Dear Writing Family—

    What deep weeks we have experienced with our 2023 theme of MOBY INK. Special thanks to Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church in Lexington and Central Baptist in Winchester for generously letting us use their great facilities for two separate weeks of camp.

    We focused on listening skills that are part of a larger educational program I have developed called Glisten! The Lexington campers gratefully listened to four distinguished speakers:  Dr. Monte McGregor, fresh water biologist with Kentucky’s Center for Mollusk Conservation; members of the Lexington Fire Department Dive team on Engine 9—Capt. Runnels and firefighters Spalding and Day; New York Times best-selling history author David King; and seashell artisan Laura Goins. 

    During classes we listened to stories about two fascinating persons from the past connected to the ocean--Jacques Cousteau, inventor of aqualungs, the first generation of air tanks, and Jeanne Villepreux-Power, designer of the aquarium.  We read a children's science book by Jeanette Davis, a black marine biologist who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and  is known as Dr. Ocean. 

    We studied and painted that thrilling Hokusai masterpiece “Under The Wave of Kanazawa”—better known as “The Great Wave.”  When the students were not in afternoon art class, they had fun choosing their own written path through our first-ever Pulitzer Prize camp cards.

  We started the first pages of a MOBY INK writing journal that we hope students will use all year. Without using electronic devices, we held the first generation of Inkspire’s newest tradition: the inkPhone, a literary device designed to improve revision skills. We had fun learning ocean idioms. We also specifically discussed haikus, limericks, free verse, and encouraged the writing of adventure stories and lyrics to songs. 

     Our tradition continues with campers working in both large groups and in smaller teams that shared common grade levels. This year our teams in Lexington were known as Starfish and Sunfish. In Winchester we added the Swordfish team.

    A group of girls in the Lexington camp took the initiative to start our first ever dance group. They performed at our closing program by singing and adding motions to our camp song. We also had a unique closing program event modeled after the hat toss during graduation at ceremonies at the Navy Academy in Annapolis. The hats had envelopes with letters of encouragement from each other and from me. Of course, our closing program had its special traditions of singing the camp song (including the audience), giving a few awards, hearing students read their writings, and reciting a poem by Robert Frost.

    The Winchester camp continued to have its Thursday night Poetry in Flight sky lantern show at the Walking Trail. We also welcomed campers from Lexington. We started a new tradition of chanting a line from a letter written by well-known poetess Emily Dickinson:  "I am out with lanterns, looking for myself."

    I am often asked by families: What can we do at home to encourage writing fun?  Find ways for students to send thank you letters as much as possible.  Read poetry as often as possible. Neglect not the value of picture books (one is never too old for a great picture book) that combines images with poetic or humorous language.  Spell every word your student wants spelled.  This practice will not contribute to poor spelling or laziness.  In fact, the opposite.  This reinforces your student’s willingness to use you as a valuable resource (and it’s okay if they see you using a paper or virtual dictionary).  Encourage students to read everything aloud. Encourage them to listen to themselves as a means of revision—and let them see you are listening as a means of encouragement.  Bring students to as many Inkspire summer writing camps and Saturday Sparklers (weekend sessions) as possible. 

We hope to "sea" you soon!  Mizz JJ

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