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Students in Lambert's Point Summer Programs Create Online Book

When Old Dominion University's Lambert's Point Summer Programs officially conclude Aug. 5, the final day of the boys basketball camp, this year's edition of the popular programs for children will close out another successful series of activities.

From instruction on how to deal with bullies to a reading/computer literacy course in which students created an online book illustrating what they learned, participants had an opportunity to engage in a wide variety of experiences.

The free programs, offered for the past 19 years to children from the nearby Lambert's Point and Park Place neighborhoods as well as dependents of ODU employees, also featured a girls basketball camp, football camp, a Funtastic Summer Camp and a two-part course in reading and computer literacy for children in grades 4-9. In all, 115 children took part in the various activities.

At the Funtastic Summer Camp, held at the Lamberts Point Community Center, the children participated in a variety of recreational activities. They also received instruction from the creator of the Gracie BullyProof program, and listened to a motivational talk by former NFL player Shawn Harper.

The reading and computer literacy classes were again led by Julie Finn Byers and Christine Hebert, doctoral students from ODU's Darden College of Education. This year's approach to the instruction was based on weekly science themes - including air, water, fire and earth - and resulted in the children creating an online book, "Exploring Science in Our World" (http://k12.wittieproject.org/wiki/Exploring_Science_in_Our_World).

"These elements serve as the main sections of our book," said Byers, who added that the classes focused on an active, inquiry-filled approach to reading, writing and technology.

"Exploring Science in Our World," a Wiki-based text, includes everything from reviews of books the students read in the summer program to posters displaying research findings from their weekly experiments. The self-authored online book also features videos, with commentary, that the children shot during a field trip to the Virginia Living Museum. Byers and Hebert collaborated with ODU's own WiTTIE team (Wiki Templates Transforming Instructional Environments), led by Jennifer Kidd, lecturer in the education college's teaching and learning department, to publish the book in Wiki format.

At the conclusion of their classes, the children, along with their teachers, had an opportunity to talk about their book when President John Broderick and Cecelia Tucker, director of the Lambert's Point Summer Programs, stopped by for a visit.

"The fact that President Broderick took time out of his busy schedule to really listen and respond to our students meant a lot to us," Byers said. "I think this program is one of the great things happening at ODU. We would not have been able to do any of this without the support and assistance of Ms. Tucker. She allows us to exercise our creative muscle and we look forward to working with her next summer."

This article was posted on: August 4, 2010

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