By Katie Sobiech
During the past couple of weeks, a group of area second- through eighth-graders jumped into the world of mystery-solving and writing their very own e-books. The Center for Literacy at The University of Akron’s College of Education put on this two-week educational summer camp in order to nurture, encourage and inspire future generations of readers, writers, learners and thinkers.
Through programs like “Forensic Files” for grades 5 through 8, and “Uncover the eTreasure,” for grades 2 through 5, students spent part of their summer break diving into a world of wonder.
“They’ve been enjoying creating their own books with digital technology and using the story creation method to create mysteries,” Courtney Cable, Camp Leader with The University of Akron’s College of Education, said. By the end of the week, each group created their own mystery themed e-books.
Learning from the pros
Guest speakers even showed up to share their wisdom throughout the week, including Det. James Conley with the Akron Police Department.
“Detective James Conley talked about his investigative detective work, which is really cool, and gave us really good best practices on how to stay safe. If you see a crime happening you need to use your detective skills and different methods, paying attention to details and using descriptive words,” Cable said. “All of these little things combine into writing their own stories,” Cable continued.
During the first week, fifth- through eighth-grade students were challenged to solve a local mystery. “The underlying storyline was that there is a legend on The University of Akron Campus that there is a treasure hidden somewhere on campus. However, throughout the years, Buchtel Hall has had two major fires and a lot of the files have been destroyed,” Cable explained.
Throughout the week they were given codes and different mysteries that had to be solved each day. This taught the students about story-writing, mysteries and helped them create their e-books.
“(We gave) them forensic things to play with and discover, like finger-printing and handwriting analysis,” Cable said. “And used our magnifying glasses to look at thumbprints and details.”
The entire two weeks were jam-packed with fun and learning, including a Mystery Clue game and more. This provided much more than just some summer fun, but hopefully left lasting imprints on the students.
“There are many opportunities and career paths out there. I wanted to make sure these campers knew that you can connect art, literacy and science and go into so many different fields. Through the skills that they’re learning here I wanted to bring in the speakers to show them, ‘look, this is what they’re doing and this is what you’re learning in camp and you’re only in fifth grade, but this is what they do for a living!'” Cable said.
The University of Akron’s Center for Literacy is growing, and hopes to continue its momentum in impacting the city. “This is part of the community outreach efforts that they’re working on through college education,” Cable explained.
Cable has been working for The University of Akron’s College of Education for AKCEL (Akron Center for ELearning) for four years. Her enthusiasm for her work clearly shines through.
“I’ve worked with my team in order to implement professional development eLearning for educators across the state of Ohio,” Cable said.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/camp-digi-lit.