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Hillside Elementary students head to 'Ed Camp'

Fifth-graders Thomas Opse (left) and Ethan Reichel make an aerodynamic paper airplane during Hillside Elementary School’s first Kids Ed Camp on Friday, Jan. 3. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)1 / 4
Students dig into a pile of Legos during an activity in Jolie Boich's second-grade classroom during Hillside Elementary's Kids Ed Camp. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)2 / 4
Fourth-grader Tanna Mueller sifts through a large pile of Legos during on of Hillside Elementary’s Kids Ed Camp activities. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)3 / 4
Rick Fillmore, 8, squeezes the excess coloring out of his tie-dyed T-shirt, one of many activities Hillside Elementary students took part in during the Kids’ Ed Camp last week. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)4 / 4

Finally, at long last, kids flew paper airplanes in class without consequence.

And they even got help from their teachers.

Making paper airplanes — and learning about aerodynamics in the process — was just one of nearly 30 activities students chose to take part in during Hillside Elementary School’s first Kids Ed Camp last week.

The morning program was a spin-off of an activity School District 833 teachers participated in last fall. Staff spent a day at Park High School learning about a variety of educational topics that interested them.

“We thought, well, why couldn’t we do this with these kids?” said Jolie Boich, a Hillside  second-grade teacher.

So Hillside Principal Erin Shadick, teachers and staff picked activities they would lead in two roughly 45-minute sessions on Friday, Jan. 3. There were indoor and outdoor classes ranging from building snow forts to learning to salsa dance and from making snow globes to collecting comic books.

All students in grades K-5 signed up for two activities each using a spreadsheet on Google Drive. They didn’t know what their friends were selecting so students truly picked topics that interested them, teachers said.

Organized educational chaos ensued as classrooms, hallways and even the playground were used for art studios, dance floors, winter demonstrations and even an ice fishing exhibit. When the first session ended, students moved on to their next activity.

Kids Ed Camp gave students an opportunity to see teachers in a different light, and to work with students of different grade levels, Shadick said.

“It’s really about building that community,” she said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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