During the month of March, Miss Rupard’s and Dr. Kilpatrick’s classes, along with Dr. Kilpatrick’s student teacher, Miss Winterbottom, have gathered every morning to read the book Holes, by Louis Sachar, together. Both teachers took turns reading chapters aloud as students read along silently from books purchased with a Kennett Education Foundation grant. Fifth grader, Cassidy Rayburn said that she’s glad that KEF gave them a grant to buy the books because, “So far, it’s the best book I ever read.” Her sentiments were echoed by multiple students, including Elsa Halenda who said it is “One of the best books ever!” Ted Sterling explained why he loved the book so much when he stated, “I loved the book Holes because it keeps giving you little clues about the main story…and because we read it together. Dr. Kilpatrick had a really funny Mr. Sir voice when he read it out loud.” “It was a very smart and well thought out story,” added Miles Francisco.
After reading the book, the students came together one afternoon to watch the movie, which was surprisingly released only 5 years after the book was published. Sloane Corrado commented that, “It was very intense and there were a lot of surprises that they didn’t put in the book. Overall it was really close to the book.” Other students interjected that, “It wasn’t as good as the book though!”
On a Tuesday afternoon, students returned from recess led not by their teachers, but rather by Kissin’ Kate Barlow, The Warden, and Dr. Pendanski. They were taken to Room 24 where they were given their Camp Green Lake uniforms, an orange tee shirt, and were broken into two camps: Tent A and Tent B. Students, just like the characters in the book, gave themselves nicknames. Instead of Armpit, X-Ray, Zero, and Caveman, Room 24 played host to Q-Tip, Beans Sardines, Sloaney Baloney, Double A Battery, Cart-man, Four Eyes, King Knight, Big Head Ted, Ant-Man, Quesadilla, Gizmo, Flyer, Mouse, Grayfish, Swoosh, D-Clan, Z-Z-Z, Mewtoot, -1, Soy Bean, and other unique characters. Eva Diaz shared that she “liked making up our own nicknames because we got to use our creativity.” Other students, like Declan Haemmerle, said that, “It was kind of hard to come up with a new nickname so fast, but I already had one that other students use, so I was able to use that one.”
The students, now “campers,” were given direction by Kissin’ Kate Barlow (Miss Rupard): “Tent A with Dr. K., Tent B, come with me!” as students split into two rooms for a Holes-themed activity. In Dr. K’s classroom, students found a cipher wheel and a treasure chest, guarded by yellow-spotted lizards and a letter from the warden stating that she had escaped from prison, stolen the treasure, and kidnapped Zero. The campers were given 45 minutes to solve puzzles in order to figure out where she had taken Zero, and how to get past the yellow-spotted lizards and into the treasure chest. “It was never boring, because it was really hard,” commented Quinn Pinschmidt. “There was a lot of teamwork, and everyone helped. Some people were using the computer to translate clues and others were solving problems,” said Lexi Vargas, “It was really great!”
Meanwhile, in Room 20, the campers were competing to show off their Holes knowledge in a version of the game Trashketball, now known as Holesketball. Zoey Stellabot explained the game: “So there were basically these bags on the floor, they represented holes, and there were different objects that represented different points. If you threw a ping pong ball into a bag, and answered the question correctly, you got to keep that item and the points. Whichever team had the most points at the end won!” “When I say it was fun, I’m not even exaggerating! It was fun because we had to combine the trivia about the book Holes with sports,” added Soren Wells.
After completing their activity, the classes switched and each camper got to work on the other activity. At the end of the day, the campers walked out of Camp Green Lake in their orange shirts. As they headed for their buses, Miss Rupard stated, “I feel like this was not only a great reading activity for the students, but also a great bonding activity for students with each other and with their teachers. I can’t wait to do this again.” Next year’s fifth graders have a lot to look forward to!