Blog Post

Join the Ride - RU Connected 2013

Though RU Connected finished in mid-July, its presence, lessons, and memories live on with instructors and participants. Held by Racquet Up Detroit, a non-profit youth-development program, the camp exicted and engaged 14 eager middle-school students. 

We'll start our blog by providing summaries of each camp day, written by instructors, and finish with a student review of camp.

Thanks for reading, and welcome to RU Connected 2013!


What an awesome first day! We started exploring our theme of "deception" and made word maps (like the one below) to help us think of related words. We color coded and arranged words to indicate their connotations--very negative (e.g., to cheat), somewhat negative (e.g., to bamboozle), or somewhat positive (e.g., to persuade). Next we learned about the science of body language and facial expressions--and we made short video recordings of ourselves telling one true statement and one lie. As we watched our clips, it turned out to be quite challenging to (a) notice and then (b) interpret our facial "micro-expressions" to determine who was lying and who was telling the truth. 
All that before lunch!

Word Map
Also before lunch we launched our summer reading novel (Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry) with a lively read-aloud. We were introduced to Kira, a young girl with a "twisted leg" whose mother has just died and who lives in a village somewhere in the woods. We'll have to read Chapter 2 to find out more about who she is--and why some of the older women in the village want to put her out in the "Field for the beasts." 

Our pace did not slow down after lunch. We did a couple of "lightning-round challenges" (e.g., Who said, "You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time"?) and we started learning about camouflage. We each chose an animal, learned a couple of facts about where it lives, and then used a photo editing tool to erase everything except our animal's body from a photo of it that we found on the web. We then placed these "cut outs" on a new background (e.g., a desert landscape). 

Throughout the day we played and learned with a variety of free web-based tools: Gmail, Google Docs, Google Draw, Pixlr, PhotoBooth, and more. These are powerful tools that can be used for any number of purposes--for school, but also for hobbies, for creative fun, or to start a business.
See you in the morning for Day #2!


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