The thought occurred to me over winter break, what would be my ideal teacher-student environment? My current situation is quite good, but what if a lot of (curriculum based) restrictions were removed?

I'm at the very beginning of making a successful math program. The Calculus kids I have this year are amazing, and some of that is because we've spent a year together already. I have a group of 11th graders in Pre-Cal this year primed to take their place, and in theory out-achieve them. How can I serve their needs? What would they want out of school if some restrictions went away?

Enter summer camp.

It starts with a hunch that a lot of my 11th grade students are like me, they enjoy learning for the sake of learning on some level. What would they like to learn? What are some things they've always wondered about but never had access to? It relies on a second hunch that they like learning things with me. It wouldn't matter what we were talking about as long as I were in charge.

I posed the question, would you be willing to come up to school for a few mornings in the summer and learn whatever, if I taught it?

Short answer: camp got approved and I have a healthy list of attendees. Now what happens?

Soon, I'll need to get real, legit commitments. I gave the kids two possibilities (the week of June 13 or the week of June 20) and had them bounce the dates off their parents. Some had to work, some are going out of town, but a lot were available and willing to learn stuff in the summer. Imagine!

What are we going to learn? I have some ideas but I want this to be driven by student interest as well. Programming is at the top of their lists, and some wouldn't mind discussions about space travel, astronomy, robotics, or even mundane things like how to their taxes or something.

The camp needs a name. I already have an established brand. Rolling a summer camp into the Varsity Math universe of nonsense was an easy move even if this isn't explicitly a math camp. T-shirts and stickers are likely. We're also probably going to charge about $20 just to give the kids a sense of investment (make it free and they'd probably bail when June came).

AuthorJonathan Claydon