The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

August 12, 2013

Not vacation: Summer learning programs crucial

(Continued)

As a bonus for one of the nation’s biggest education companies, it could land them new customers during the regular school year if teachers liked what they saw.

“Teachers are teaching all day, they’re not given release time. They don’t have the time among everything else to come up with these summer lessons,” said Lance Rougeux, a former teacher who led the team that put together Discovery’s STEM camp curriculum.

Among the ready-made lessons, there’s one on water in which students build boats to transport weights, measure erosion and calculate the percentage of sugar found in various beverages, while also doing relay races with sponges and other competitions.

“I think that’s the direction people are going: to summer enrichment at a school instead of a camp where you play basketball for half the day, feed you lunch and do some crafts. There’s value in that for social development. But we can trick — I hate to say it — trick students to learn,” Rougeux said.

“If all we’re doing is baby-sitting, we don’t need summer camps. You need baby-sitting services.”

If the counselors pick up a trick or two to take with them back to the classrooms this fall, all the better.

That’s what leaders in Harlem hoped for the 40 students who attended a LitWorld Camp.

“We want to do something always fun. They can read what they want. They are encouraged to feel positive about what they’re learning,” said Madison Graboyes, who runs the day camp.

If students show an interest in cooking or animals, hip-hop or vintage toys, leaders find books that match up with their interests. Students wrote songs based on books on hip-hop and designed their own toys based on the ones they read about from the Depression, Colonial times and ancient Egypt.

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