Whether or not you’ve ever heard of Night Rider, Space Invaders, or the game console Atari, our summer English Enrichment summer course, The Eighties: A Dystopian Decade, will get you excited about the 1980s. This course will explore the notion of dystopia through the fictional world of Ready Player One, the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline and 2017 movie by Stephen Spielberg. For students entering grades 5–8, the camp will help improve their critical thinking and writing skills to prepare them for middle and high school.

We spoke with English Subject Expert Teacher Mr. Sharp about his gnarly summer course and the decade it focuses on. Read Mr. Sharp’s full bio here.

Why did you decide to teach The Eighties: A Dystopian Decade this summer?

Last year’s camp went so well (Fantasy Fiction: The Hobbit, Eragon, The Novice, etc.) that I thought we should explore another popular genre, dystopian fiction. Ready Player One (2011) seemed like a perfect fit. It ties into all of the technological advances we read about almost every day (virtual reality, facial and voice recognition, etc.), and Steven Spielberg recently made a movie! Serendipity!

Why should a student sign up for this camp?

As the novel focuses on much of the 1980s iconic memorabilia, and considering I grew up in the 1980s, I thought it might be fun to tie some of the iconic references in the novel to the dystopian genre. In retrospect, the 1980s do seem to have been a little dystopian: the Rubik’s Cube, Knight Rider, War Games, Atari, and John Hughes films. I think it will be fun rediscovering some of these old standards and reminiscing with students who might be seeing some of these items for the first time.

What are some examples of activities or lessons you have planned?

Along with reading the novel and selected short stories, I will focus on improving students’ writing and grammar through practice items that will have an 80s theme. The instruction will aim to improve students’ grammar, writing, critical-reading, and note-taking skills. These are the skills that are essential throughout both the formative middle school years and the more rigorous high school years.

Do students need to know a lot about the decade to enjoy the class?

The less they know about the 1980s, the better!

Dates: July 16–20 and July 23–27. We encourage students to take both weeks of the course.

Times: 9 AM–12 PM

Fee: $375

This camp is totally rad! Register now.

Learn more about these camps and more in Summer Spotlight blogs here. Look out for more blogs featuring our other camps soon.

BASIS Independent Summer offers a variety of academic and recreational programs for kids age 4 through grade 12. Camps run July 16–August 10. To learn more about BASIS Independent Summer, visit our website.