2. Many of them fished for the first time in their life, and some of them caught fish for the first time in their life. One of them even caught her arm with a fishhook (which was our first serious camping accident ever and WE learned that all the paperwork we require pays off when you have to take someone else's child to the hospital).
3. A big group of early risers found out that messing around at the pond before breakfast is at least as much, and possibly more fun than heading straight for the couch and the TV cartoons.
4. All that worrying about the dance melted away as fast as the Popsicles we had afterwards when they saw that the Virginia Reel was no more than an organized game of tag set to music.
5. It's just as much fun to yell-sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot in the gym at camp while dancing the Virginia Reel as it is to sing it beautifully on the risers in your good clothes in front of your parents for the fourth grade concert.
6. They get to play dodge ball in a big open field with soft balls that don't really hurt...with the parents and teachers. There should be far more opportunities for kids and adults to just play together.
7. On the second day, everybody either has bad hair or is wearing their hat (even at meals).
8. Simon Says. The guy at camp who runs the Simon Says games after meals is brilliant. Brilliant, I say. If we played Simon Says every day for a year, would my students' overall listening skills improve, or would they still only be able to focus that well for the game? I wonder...
9. My cabin of girls went outside and looked at the stars before we went to bed. We saw one of the dippers (who cares which one) and picked out the star we wanted to be the North Star and made up a few constellations of our own.
10. We teachers learned (yet again) to never make assumptions. One of our Muslim boys disappeared between dodge ball and the dance. (Where could he be? How dare he run off by himself?) He was found in short order...in the boys' bath house, saying his evening prayers. Now we know that besides making accommodations and plans for food restrictions, medications, and health issues, we need to pay more attention to our students' religious needs. And probably not just at camp...
So why is going to overnight camp with urban fourth graders worth it?