Stu­dents, Teach­ers En­joy Great Val­ley Writ­ing Camp

Escalon Times - - NEWS - By MARG JACK­SON mjack­son@escalon­times.com

With a fi­nal day ‘open house’ to show­case the wide va­ri­ety of work they had ac­com­plished, stu­dents and teach­ers alike learned some new skills at the Great Val­ley Writ­ing Camp.

Hosted at Dent El­e­men­tary School over a twoweek pe­riod, co­or­di­na­tor Sally Hale said there were more than 40 stu­dents, in three sep­a­rate grade-level groups, work­ing with more than a dozen dif­fer­ent teach­ers.

Stu­dents were di­vided up into kin­der­garten through sec­ond grade, with 12 stu­dents in that class; 14 stu­dents at the third grade level; and 16 stu­dents in fourth through sixth grades.

This was the sec­ond year the camp was hosted in Escalon, through the Great Val­ley Cen­ter. Sev­eral lo­cal ser­vice clubs helped pro­vide some schol­ar­ships for stu­dents to at­tend as well, said Hale.

“Lions, Ma­sons, Ki­wa­nis, they have all been very gen­er­ous,” she said.

From craft pro­jects to short sto­ries, learn­ing about the ori­gins of games and hear­ing from guest speak­ers, the stu­dents en­joyed an in­ten­sive two weeks of ‘camp.’

“I like to write po­ems,” said Izzy John­son, 8, one of the young at­ten­dees.

The stu­dents met Mon­day through Fri­day, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with teach­ers on site from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., earn­ing cred­its for teach­ing the class.

“Most are Escalon teach­ers,” Hale said, though teach­ers from around the county also came in to as­sist. “We’d like to ex­pand it, go K-8 next year.”

Hard at work, twin broth­ers Tren­ton and Tony Epps, 10, were in a group with Theo Harp, 9, and Is­abelle Titsworth, 8, on Thurs­day as they worked on a craft project to take home. All the work was on dis­play dur­ing the open house, as well as avail­able on a special camp web­site and Face­book page. High school stu­dent as­sis­tants were given the task of keep­ing the so­cial me­dia pres­ence up to date.

Hale said the best part about the camp – even though tem­per­a­tures hit the triple dig­its last week – was that ev­ery­one was en­gaged the en­tire time they were there.

“Not once did the kids ask what time it was, when was it time to go home?,” she ex­plained.

Teach­ers work­ing at the camp re­ceived credit through CSU Stanis­laus.

Teacher Cassie Gre­gory ex­plains the coun­try of ori­gin of sev­eral pop­u­lar board games as stu­dents in the Great Val­ley Writ­ing Camp en­joy try­ing their hand at check­ers, tic-tac-toe and more.

The web­site crew, from left, teacher Les­lie McCoy from West High School in Tracy and stu­dent helpers Maya Oliv­eras, seated, and Me­lanie Smith, are shown with Camp Co­or­di­na­tor Sally Hale, at right, as they trou­bleshoot some com­puter is­sues.

Man­teca Uni­fied School Dis­trict fourth grade teacher Ali­cia Uecker was one of sev­eral in­struc­tors at the Great Val­ley Writ­ing Camp hosted at Dent El­e­men­tary.

Writ­ing down some char­ac­ter traits to put on their ‘stars’ are writ­ing camp par­tic­i­pants, 9-year-olds Mad­die Molica and Is­abella Grant.

Look­ing over what she has writ­ten so far, Ri­ley Titsworth, 6, is work­ing on a piece about her new pet La­dy­bug rock, which she named Rede.

TIMES PHO­TOS BY MARG JACK­SON

A va­ri­ety of writ­ing and art ac­tiv­i­ties kept kids busy dur­ing the two-week writ­ing camp hosted at Dent El­e­men­tary, with Vi­vian Molica, 8, con­cen­trat­ing on a Henna tat­too draw­ing.

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