“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” (Ephesians 6:7)

Camp Hutchison ended today and I have a hard time believing that four weeks has gone by. It still feels like yesterday that I met the rising 3rd graders for the first time and they were waiting to see what we were going to do in reading. They surprised me at every turn by going above and beyond my expectations with their reading skills. I have to agree with several other blog writers that Camp Hutchison has been such a blessing in my life and it has been a privilege to serve these children.

My three groups (Bears, Chipmunks, and Owls) showed up the very first week with a variety of reading levels and interests. I decided to focus on sight words and fluency to give them a sturdy foundation for the rest of our time together. Every day, after buddy reading with lots of cool books (thank you Loudoun County Public Library!), we worked on our oral reading with fairy tale/folk tale plays. We also did literacy centers and I read several books out loud to them. On the last instructional day (Thursday) I handed out an award to every student that said Great Reader Award. I did this because they have worked so hard over the last four weeks and I wanted them to know that I am proud of what they have done.

I definitely took two things away from this experience. One was something Jake said in one of the devotionals we participated in over the last four weeks. He read that teaching is based on faith. As teachers, we have to have faith that we impact students’ lives, no matter how small. I have faith that I impacted these students so they will have a head start for their 3rd grade year. Two, I was happy to be able to share my love of reading with these students. They were so eager to sit and listen to stories and to share their own. It is my hope that they carry that eagerness into the next year.

In closing, I want to share a quote I found in the book Many Ways to Say I Love You from Mr. Fred Rogers. It sums up everything I believe about the last four weeks and what Floris believes about children:

“Children who hear that they are loved in many different ways are likely to find their own ways to say it to the people they love all through their lives.”

Many Ways to Say I Love You, p.95

Theresa Hayden

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