SC State camp readies Charleston County students for third grade

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Smart CampRising third graders who attend the Charleston Development Academy (CDA), a public charter school located in the Gadsden Green Housing Authority Community, are getting an early jump on the upcoming school year by participating in an innovative summer camp that integrates technology and academics.

Strategies in Math and Reading using Technology or SMART Camp is a four-week program that teaches students basic concepts in reading and math while using two primary instruction tools, an interactive whiteboard and remote-like devices known as E-instruction clickers. The camp is sponsored by the 1890 Research & Extension Program at SC State University.

Smart Camp participant, Joshua Whites, gets assistance with his lesson from CDA Director Cecila Gordon Rogers.
Students focus on learning skills such as telling time and reading for details by studying lessons that are developed by camp instructors. The instructors display the lessons on the interactive whiteboard, a combination of a computer and a whiteboard, with follow up questions and answers. Students use the clickers by pointing them toward the whiteboard to select an answer. With a quick tap on a wireless keyboard, the teachers can instantly pull up the responses for the class to view.

“The use of the whiteboard and the clickers have enhanced the students’ learning experience so much that it seems as if they have forgotten it is summer,” said Shawn Johnson,” one of the camp’s instructors who also teaches second grade and serves as a teacher coach at the CDA. Reginald Graham, technology specialist for the CDA, also assists the camp’s 12 participants.

For many of the state’s students, third grade can be a difficult year since it marks the first year that students will begin taking the standardized tests that are administered to measure students’ overall progress and determine whether or not schools are meeting expectations. SMART Camp prepares students for these examinations by teaching them test-taking skills that will help boost their confidence in taking standardized tests. The camp is also designed to assist incoming third graders who have not mastered grade-level concepts by teaching them strategies they can use to improve their academic performance.

“Our students are truly becoming independent learners, and the opportunity that the 1890 Program has afforded them will be a lifelong learning experience for them,” said Cecelia Gordon Rogers, director of the CDA.

The camp further provides each student the opportunity to receive personalized attention. The 2-to-12 teacher-to-student ratio allows the instructors to assess the academic progress of each child and tailor the lessons to meet the specific needs of a student. Instructors may also arrange supplemental tutoring after camp hours for students who need additional academic guidance.

“When SMART camp participants attend the first day of school this fall, they will be far better prepared than their peers simply because they will have gained the necessary skills, both academic and technical, that will make them successful in the classroom,” said Delbert T. Foster, assistant administrator of community education and public service activities. “SMART camp, as well as all of the youth programs or services that 1890 Extension provides, are intended to meaningfully impact the lives of our future leaders,” he continued.

While this is the second year that the 1890 Program has offered the camp, this is the Program’s first year to host the camp in Charleston. SMART Camp is also being offered again on SC State’s campus for third graders in Orangeburg County. Both camps are held weekly from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. The camps will end on July 11.

For more information on SMART Camp or about the 1890 Research & Extension Program, visit or call (803) 536-8460.