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STRIDE camp lets students learn hands-on

The more they were focused on the Dark Ages, the more they became enlightened. Students in Villissa Talcott's medieval class during Project S.T.R.I.D.E. last week-end built miniature paper castles as one of their projects. When the assembly directions were unclear, their teacher provided them with a solution. But the students had their own architect plans that she said worked just as well.

"They're teaching me as much as I'm teaching them," Ms. Talcott said. "Anytime they use their hands on a project, they love it and they learn."

The medieval class was just one of many opportunities to participate in hands-on learning during the three day camp for gifted students called Project S.T.R.I.D.E. - Summer Talent Recognition Identification and Development in Education.

Fifty-six third through seventh graders from Glascock, Warren and McDuffie counties attended the camp that was organized by McDuffie County QUEST teacher, Jerry Snider and held at Norris Elementary School. The teachers also came from area counties and ranged in expertise from grades kindergarten through high school. Dr. Snider said they had been part of a certification class for teachers of the gifted that he taught through out the year with the Regional Educational Service Agency. Teaching at the camp provided them the opportunity to apply what they had learned.

"Before camp started, I was a bit nervous. I thought I'd be out of my comfort zone because the kids are so much older," said Erin Mendez, who normally teaches kindergarten at Maxwell Elementary, but was teaching Speedy Spanish during camp. "But I've had a lot of fun."

The students not only increased their Spanish vocabulary in Ms. Mendez's class, but they created every aspect of their own Mexican restaurant in the classroom, from the decor and menu to cooking and serving the food.

Other classes offered during S.T.R.I.D.E. were Kitchen Chemistry, in which the students conducted experiments with common household elements; Fly Higher, which taught them the physics of rocketry; Dream Catchers, where they explored the world of Native Americans; Photo Story, which was a computer lab where they learned the newest version of PowerPoint; and Star Wars, where they wrote and produced their own science fiction film.

Through the camp, the students experienced many adventures to different lands and time zones, both real and fictional. But there were those moments when they just couldn't escape the normal anxieties of being a kid in school. For Kaylee Reid, it happened when she launched her rocket down the hallway and it didn't quite fly the way it was supposed to.

"It scared me," the Glascock County student said. "I thought it was going into the boys' bathroom. That would have been really bad."

Web posted on Thursday, June 05, 2008

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