National Writing Project

One Time at Writing Camp

By: Sam Patterson
Date: January 27, 2010

Summary: Sam Patterson, a teacher-consultant with the San Diego Writing Project, conjectures about the ways that working in his writing project site's Young Writers Camp has helped him learn practices of value in his classroom teaching.



As both a teacher and a researcher, I have asked myself what is the difference that camp makes? The days at camp are short and there are only twelve of them. The days are filled with discovery hikes, visits by authors, writer-response groups, snack time, mini-lessons, journal time, group writing; and then there is the challenge of helping the campers prepare a piece of the anthology that is usually published between days 9 and 10 of the camp so we have it for the reading on day 11 and the closing celebrations on the last day.

I am still working on a clear, evidence-supported articulation of the difference camp makes, but I have found an enduring understanding that I work to bring into my classroom."

Copyright © 2009 California English. Reprinted with permission.
Patterson, Sam. 2009. "One Time at Writing Camp." California English 15 (2): 19–20.

Read more California English articles on the California Writing Project.

About the Author Sam Patterson teaches at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto and is a doctoral candidate in Literacy Education in a joint program between University of San Diego and San Diego State University. He became a writing project fellow in 1998 and worked with the San Diego Area Writing Project in many different capacities before moving to Palo Alto in 2006.

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