I just returned from Korea, where I taught a week-long writing camp for kids aged 9-14 on the theme of pirates. I have helped lead many writing camps based on various themes (such as spies, fairy tales, and adventure), but this was one of the most fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want to present themselves as “Cap’n Wiz” and speak like a pirate for a week?
Along with my teaching partner, The Dread Pirate Kallie (who goes by the alter ego of Kallie George), we delivered a host of fun activities. These included creating treasure maps, designing pirate flags, drawing pirate tattoos, and—of course—writing pirate stories.
One of the most successful days was when we delivered a presentation on the importance of research. Students were given “golden doubloons,” which they used to bid on an item of sea lore (such as mermaids, the Bermuda Triangle, and so forth). Once they had “bought” a topic, each student then had to go do some critical research on that subject, citing at least two websites (not including wikipedia).
Part two of the assignment was when we sent the kids outside on the grounds of the university where we hosted the camp so that they might find proof of the “legendary and famous pirate Captain Inkwell Black.” As the legend goes, Captain Inkwell crashed on the shores of Korea three hundred years ago, before making his way inland to make camp at the site where our camp was located. Our students made many fascinating discoveries, including slash marks on a rock, which were surely caused by Inkwell’s scabbard. Another student discovered a patch of rubber in the shrubs—surely the remains of an eye patch once worn by the legendary pirate.
The other great feature of our camp was helping the students role play their characters. As you can see by the photos, many of the students embraced their alter egos.
The camp was hosted by The Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC), which runs numerous writing classes, programs, and contests for kids in Vancouver and the lower mainland.