The last week, I've gotten to experience what seems to be a rite of passage for 5th graders - 5th grade science camp.
Since this is my first year teaching this grade, this was my first science camp experience since I was a kid myself. My own science camp memories have mostly faded, but I still remember the fun of the songs, skits, hikes by the river, and mealtimes that made camp so much fun.
The kids, overall, had a blast. It was so much fun to see the kids in this new environment - those sleepy bedheads, hiking on trails, the stress of showers (all taken in swimsuits), checking on them as they went to sleep at night, and seeing them having a great time with old friends and new.
I got to go on a bunch of short hikes with my students, seeing them exclaim as they saw a banana slug, an FBI (fungi, bacteria, invertebrate), or some other cool trailside sight.
The week was certainly tiring, with one night up until midnight dealing with a kid issue, and needing to always be on call, but it was great all the same.
This morning, as the kids packed up their things, loaded up the buses, and said their last goodbyes, there were certainly a few tears among the smiles, as the kids got to head back to real life and see the family they missed so much.
I was also glad to be home with my family, Ed. We celebrated my arrival home with some deliciously spicy indian food (perfect after the passable but bland camp meals), a nice cold beer, and a two hour nap.
I certainly do love teaching 5th grade!