This July, the 3E camp in which students Explore STEM, Enrich literacy skills, and Enjoy each other- hence the name 3E, inaugurated a Literacy Lab. The 3E camp is a premier opportunity for Marymount undergraduate and graduate teacher candidates to enhance their teaching capacity in meaningful ways. They gain confidence in their own teaching skills while teaching youngsters to gain confidence in STEM, English literacy, and social skills. STEM activities this year included counselors and campers debugging the vegetable plants in the Hope Garden and harvesting kale and tomatoes, as well as planting basil with Marymount Professor Susan Agolini. They also interacted with animals in professor Todd Rimkus’ reptilian lab.
Marymount teacher candidates developed literacy interventions providing youngsters with integrated literacy activities. Rather than start with books, we started with experiences. The participants made vocabulary card games, wrote thank you cards, made memory books, and wrote ‘how to’ directions; for example, how to draw a baby Yoda, make ice cream in a bag, and make a piñata. The 3E counselors received training by Dr. Ana Lado, Professor of Education on ways to address the literacy needs of students whose first language is not English.
The counselors represented a range of qualifications. It was directed by Special Education teachers from the local public schools–Director Angel Lopez-Soto, Assistant Director, Keri Mignano and STEM activity director Madelynne Decou. They were accompanied by undergraduate students and volunteers who focused on building the youngsters’ confidence in STEM while integrating literacy and social skills. For example, Anna Castro developed a how to draw baby Yoda. Camille Giacomello developed a sketch and spell. Zach Emmons’ youngster was so entranced by a book Zach read that the boy chose continuing to listen to it over swimming in the pool. Aileen Martinez’s youngsters adored writing with her. Abrielle and Jazmin Lopez-Soto volunteered extra hours to ensure their youngsters developed comprehension. Dr. Lado taught a new spelling cheer daily, like C.O.L.L.E.G.E. college, college is for me.
Marymount University’s Saints Center for Service funded the project through a Community Engagement Grant given to the School of Education to establish a partnership benefiting participants in public institutions, such as Barcroft Elementary school. The 3E Literacy Lab was an immense success despite the challenges posed by COVID 19 parameters which were overcome with direct support by the principal and assistant principal of Barcroft Elementary School. They wrote, “Even in this short time they seemed changed – they are so much more confident and independent. When they talk about camp you can see how excited and happy the campers are.”
Parents also commented; one in an email wrote, “they absolutely loved it! We’ve done various camps each week this summer but all they can talk about is 3E camp. The memory book with all the photos and signatures was such a nice thing to do because they both love looking at it and talking about all their favorite teachers (Anna, April, Keri, Zack, Angel, Jazmin). The science lessons were a hit with them as well – it’s wonderful to see their faces light up with excitement when they talk about the garden, bugs, animals, piñata etc.”
For further information about the 3E Camp and Literacy Lab, please contact:
Dr. Ana Lado (firstname.lastname@example.org); Phone: (703) 284 1669
Angel Lopez-Soto, (email@example.com); Phone: (571) 302-0393