Summer Spectacular provides fun for children, experience for TROY students

Posted: Monday, 17 June 2013

DOTHAN — Whether its gluing marshmallow teeth into a model mouth or making straw paper rockets, Troy University education majors are working hands on this summer helping local children learn more about science, math and technology.

The Summer Spectacular learning enrichment program held each year by the College of Education at the Dothan Campus gives junior and senior education majors classroom management experience while providing a fun educational environment for children.

Open to children ages 4 to 12, the four-week camp is under way this month at Kelly Springs Elementary School in Dothan, with about 80 children taking part. The camp's last day is June 27.

Julie Sanders, a senior early childhood education major from Goshen, has been working in the “Human Body Classroom," leading children through crafts and activities designed to teach about human anatomy and physiology.

“We put together our own lesson plans each day, which has been great experience," Sanders said.

Daryl Williams, a senior elementary education major from Marianna, Fla., said Summer Spectacular keeps the student teachers on their toes as students of varying ages and ability levels are grouped together into class each day.

“You don't really know what to expect until you get into the classroom each day," Williams said. “It's always a challenge, but we are learning a lot."

The theme for this summer's program is “Kids as NASA Scientists," and each classroom is focusing on a different aspect of math, science or technology, from robotics to environmental science.

Dr. Cynthia Hicks, assistant professor of reading education and one of the coordinators for Summer Spectacular, said the curriculum is project based and designed to be interactive and hands-on.

“The lessons are designed to introduce a topic and encourage exploration and investigation," Dr. Hicks said.

The Dothan Campus has been holding Summer Spectacular for more than 15 years as a way for education majors taking classes during the summer to get classroom hours even while schools are out. This year, 38 TROY student teachers are participating.

The program's closing ceremony will be on Thursday, June 27, at 10 a.m. inside the Kelly Springs cafeteria.

Troy University education major Iris Helms leads a group of students through an experiment illustrating the water cycle at the Summer Spectacular learning program under way this month in Dothan. Organized by the College of Education at the Dothan Campus, the four-week program provides a fun learning environment for local children while giving TROY student teachers classroom management experience. (TROY photo/Matt Clower)