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English Language Learners Camp Transforms the 826LA Writing Lab

During the school year, the 826LA Writing Lab is an open, creative space for homework, conversation, Field Trips, Workshops, music, laughter, and of course, writing. However, for four weeks every summer the Writing Lab is transformed. This summer English Language Learners (ELL) Camp turned our space into a camp ground, art gallery, cafe, and laboratory.

ELL Camp was about robots, art, ice cream, discovery, having fun.

This summer ELL Camp was more than literacy and reading comprehension—it was about discovering the magic of the world as we find it. It was about learning that when we all look close enough, baubles from our kitchen drawers can make drawing robots and a few simple ingredients can make the most delicious ice cream you’ve ever tasted. We learned that the walls that we walk past are murals that celebrate the strength of our communities and the emotions we experience everyday are worthy of galleries and museums.

  • Volunteer Stacey and Student Eunice exploring Echo Park Lake

During Nature Week, 826LA turned into Camp Echo—complete with cricket sounds, projected stars, tents, and a campfire! Students wrote their own ghost stories and shared them around the campfire with a flashlight. For Food Week, 826LA became Café 826, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Barnacle, where volunteers turned into horrible waiters with horrible food. Students wrote bad Yelp reviews and read them out loud to an ever-cantankerous Barnacle.

During Art Week, students painted their emotions, hung them on the wall, and wrote museum wall text for each piece. Matt Fleckenstein, creator and executive producer of Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawnvisited ELL Camp and worked with the students to write their very own television show inspired by the characters they had created when touring Nickelodeon Studios. Students created original characters with the help of Nickelodeon illustrators and writers.

Students also visited the California Science Center during STEM Week. Students created drawing robots from homemade materials, made ice cream from scratch, and wrote about what their galaxy is made up of.

Thank you to the
Summer Associates, volunteers, families, and of course, the students for t
ransforming the 826LA Writing Lab into a galaxy of wonder. 


Interested in helping students make ice cream and robots? Become a volunteer.

To see all the photos from this year’s English Language Learner Camp, click here.

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