Camp Make

Modeling Distance Learning Through Camp Make: A Virtual Success

All projects have an entry event or launch. The project of the 2020-2021 school year just launched with Camp Make, the pre-service and year-long professional learning experience at iLEAD Schools and the Maker Learning Network. 

Camp Make was organized around the iLEAD foundations of social-emotional learning (SEL) and project-based learning (PBL). Participants chose from a wide spectrum of differentiated and scaffolded sessions. The Maker Team folded in cross-disciplinary literacy, as well as tools and strategies for mindful guidance and support, such as Love & Logic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Character Lab. Participants also learned about Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs), Learner-Led Conferences (LLCs), Showcases of Learning, literacy-structured benchmarks and assessments, Advisory/Morning Meetings, Presentations of Learning (POLs), outdoor classrooms and Play-Based Education.

In true PBL fashion, Camp Make included much reflection and feedback. Let’s see some of the participants’ takeaways:

Virtual Success

“I feel it was productive, as there was more voice and choice in what we learned. And we had way more time to work on what we learned. I feel that all future camps, in person or virtual, should have this much time to put our learning into practice. I have come away with more learning than I have in past years.”

“The 2020 Camp Make experience was wonderful considering that it was all virtual. Great information, ideas, examples, and live conversations with the Maker Team. I appreciate all the time and dedication put forth to make this experience a positive one.”

“The experience was enjoyable! I liked the asynchronous workshops and the added time to practice/use the skills we learned. I think this week was more helpful than previous years.”

“Gracias por todo lo que hacen! Es impresionante todos los recursos que nos dieron. Me llevo gran aprendizaje y ganas de compartir todo con mis alumnos!”

“One of my biggest takeaways from this session is the importance of having a break even through distance learning. Also, a lot of the resources are going to be very helpful.”

Community, Connections

“This was a wonderful experience! I felt connected to the whole iLEAD community. The information was very accessible. This has been my favorite Camp Make so far! Thank you for working so hard to support us.”

“I was reminded how special working with iLEAD is. The way everyone works together and communicates is something I admire so much about how this organization operates and functions. I was reminded about the power of Love and Logic and how critical it is to use it in the classroom and with all the learners.”


“The entire presentation was interesting, but I was specifically drawn to the literacy portion. While sometimes looking a little different, it was in line with how I have been teaching writing. I very much liked the section on Informative Writing.”

“Literacy is important across the board. Without a strong literary understanding, learners will not be able to reach their full potential in any subject.”

“I love the list of different writing activities across the curriculum. I will work on incorporating them into my history curriculum. I also downloaded and printed out the handout about Practices for Disciplinary literacy instruction. I am going to look at incorporating more variety into my multimodal text sets.”

Social-Emotional Learning

“My takeaway is that checking in with learners helps build social awareness and allows us to know the learner better.”

“Advisory is much more than asking questions. It’s about building a sense of community. Students should feel comfortable and open.” 

“Advisory offers me the opportunity to bond with students and address their SEL needs.” 

“Practicing mindfulness stood out to me because the presenter stressed the importance of facilitators practicing metacognition through meditation. It’s good to practice and model these on your own so that you can better assist learners in practicing meditation.”

“Connection with students is crucial to their success. We have to continue to think about how to increase engagement and accountability when we can’t meet face-to-face.” 

Play-Based Learning

“I really enjoyed the amazing training on outside play for our learners. I have a better understanding of what to do when there is no outside equipment or toys for learners to play with. I understand how important social and independent play is for learners of every age. Recess is not only outside time but time to explore, develop individual interests, as well as relieve stress and depression.  

“I learned about incorporating play into any aspect of learning that you can. We can use sensory integration to help students process and better recall information. I loved the different play stations at on-site campuses. It gave me ideas to incorporate everyday home items into play-based learning opportunities to share with children.” 


“Camp Make was amazing for a new teacher like myself. I got so much information about creating a Google Slide and PowerSchool setup that I would have been lost without.”


“The butterfly modeling video was an excellent model for helping learners understand and how to give good feedback.”

“I have a greater understanding of iLEAD’s core ideologies and better understand how to use creativity, empathy and open-mindedness in the learning spaces.”

“Amber Soto is so good at presenting. I love that these sessions will continue to be available to go back to later. There was a lot to digest, but my knowledge has increased.”


“This experience was most helpful. I loved how the Maker Team scheduled time to meet with us one-on-one so that we could ask specific questions without feeling like we were interrupting. I also enjoyed that it was ‘Choose Your Own Journey’ so that I could really focus most on what applies to my classroom needs.”

“Informative! I truly enjoyed the appointments with live coaching by appointment. This portion of Camp Make was the most valuable to me overall. I received clarification, collaboration, and ways to advance my ideas. Very helpful!”

Camp Make provided a plethora of options and opportunities for staff to choose from as they furthered their individual professional learning and growth. In addition, each school program received individualized training on racial equity, bias and sensitivity. Finally, there were opportunities for many hours of one-on-one coaching and mentoring, as well as addresses from keynote speakers each day on topics ranging from diversity to pedagogy and integrating the arts into core curriculum.  

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