Book Camp 2019, Day 4

20190619_1931266103926430068011751.jpgWe ended the day with Men in Black International, which, despite some reviews, was fun and enjoyable. We weren’t alone in the IMAX on a Wednesday night, but nearly so. And after all the work we accomplished, I think everyone needed a bit of dark space to enter someone else’s story.

Let me back up. As ever, we began with morning critiques of yesterday’s work: news articles. These were tricky because the kids are so much more tuned into fiction. Still, no breakdowns!

We wrapped up our morning meeting with a discussion of Juneteenth Freedom Day. I shared these resources with them: History of JuneteenthHow Red Food and Drink Joined the Juneteenth Feast; Juneteenth Celebration Meaning. Although I have consumed red soda and talked about the celebration of Juneteenth for several years with my boys, it hasn’t stuck.

We talked about the importance of remembering the historical moments when something right finally happened. Because we need to remember those things can still happen. We can be a part of that happening. The kids suggested that if Juneteenth were a national holiday, then kids would learn about it in school, parents wouldn’t have to go to work (maybe), and communities could have bigger celebrations. They’re not wrong and they’re not alone.

20190620_1124134838073798624074255.jpg“Never again,” Americans adore saying. But what do we mean by that? It was a question I put to these adolescents. I asked them if they knew the history of the place in our own state where immigrant children are now being detained. Where Japanese families were interned. Where Native children were detained long before both. They expressed shock and anger. And then a hush fell, because how on earth to the six of us fix something so huge and so bad?

We did not hypothesize on worsening situations in our nation, situations wherein four of us would be safe and two of us might not. Maybe I should have broached that. But today’s problem exists even if none of us have any fear of danger. Action should not be predicated on fear for ourselves. So we talked a while about what we could do. What we should do.

Then we launched into our morning inning all about character design. Using templates for male and female, as well as character description worksheets from before camp, the kids set out to draw their original characters. This has been my favorite activity of the week. Papers, drawing utensils, a giant light board, and five happy kids lounging in various states of creativity. They each gave me permission to share what I have below.

After a leisurely lunch and watching a documentary, we threw ourselves into origin stories for our original characters. They had a ton to say about how their characters came to be themselves. But after they set aside their writings, they battled out on the gaming system.

By the time dinner came around, the mood was buoyant and everybody was ready for some entertainment. We found it, thankfully, and were sated.

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