This year we want to share a little more about what we are learning at FLY during summer camps.

What sets us apart from some of the other organizations out there is how continuously we reflect and analyze and improve in tandem with our Young Artists.  They are the focus of the program, and we always ask them questions to help them assemble their ideas in images, writing, and other forms of expression.

In order to do this, we decided to make explicit a routine we’ve always done organically.  At the end of camp, we asked the kids what they expected to learn in camp; what they learned but didn’t expect; and what they’d like to learn next as an inspiration or jumping off point for what we explored together.  Asking ourselves these reflective questions helps us assess both what we intended to teach, what they expected to learn, and what we all actually found out through the joint learning and teaching process.

Some things about Watersheds and Water Creatures
What we expected:
Lots of fish
Taking walks outside
How water moves

What we didn’t expect:
That water moves downward through the environment
Not so many fish but lots of ducks and turtles and geese
Pokémon Go players (LOTS OF THEM!)

What we’d like to continue:
Learning about fish
Drawing fish and animals and plants
Taking more walks and observing things outside

Some answers for CSI
What we expected:
Gore, guts, and dissections
More detective work and experiments
Learning about the bones

What we didn’t expect:
Drawing and sculpting (Science sounds like it should be all experiments, but it isn’t!)
The way the bones work together
How much concentration was necessary to both observe everything
How much measuring there was in the reconstruction
More bones than other parts of the body

What we’d like to continue:
Learning about Egyptian Burial Practices
Learning about police work, and how Dr. Megan communicates with the police
Learning about Paleontology and Archaeology and other kinds of Anthropology
Making things with clay and sculpting
Drawing more detailed things

The FLY Teachers and I
Expected the kids to learn about bones and watersheds, but did not expect them to add Pokémon to the process. It was surprising and a little bit creepy to watch the throngs of people in the park, like the kids, we expected more fish than people in the park. We enjoyed watching the way kids became involved at different levels, and we expected them to learn at different paces.

We did not expect to make sugar skulls or play with Sculpey, and we did expect to do a few more or a few less activities than we actually did each day. That’s part of our job is to have enough and too much at once so that there’s room for everyone to explore.

We did not expect some of the questions we got asked and finding the answers was great.

We would like to do some other classes again soon with more information about anatomy, water-systems, and maybe about Egypt or archaeology. We would like to play with some of our lessons the next time we do them to be group exercises instead of individual ones or vice versa. Now that we’ve done it once, we would like to bring bones and watersheds to events and mobile classrooms!