OGDEN -- Emily Dabb carefully turned the pages of her science journal Wednesday afternoon at the MTC Learning Park. The 11-year-old had spent the morning at the park with two of her friends, exploring nature with a camera in one hand and a journal in the other to record what she saw.
Emily was participating in the first-ever Ogden School District Summer Scholars program. The program was launched this year by teachers working to get their gifted and talented endorsement through Weber State University.
The students partnered with WSU and the Ogden School District to invite students in the district who learn at a higher level. The application form said students must excel in areas more than their peers, but the program was open to all students in the district, said Taylor Canyon Principal Jeanne Clifton.
The weeklong program was run from Taylor Canyon, which is also the site for the district's Accelerated Learning Academy, a school within a school for advanced students.
Teacher Sara Tucker said she and the other teachers opened up the summer program to all students.
"Some of the students may not be served through the gifted and talented program through the year," Tucker said. About 20 students signed up for the Summer Scholars week and could choose from several different areas to have some accelerated learning opportunities.
The program was funded by the district and a grant from WSU. Students paid $20 for the class, although some were awarded a scholarship.
Students at the MTC park had signed up for photography and creative writing, and others who stayed at the school had signed up for topics like mythology and technology.
Macie Wolfe usually teaches science to junior high school students, and she was enjoying teaching some younger students.
"It's fun to see their excitement with learning," she said. She and the other two teachers working in the photography and writing unit added science to show the students that science could be fun and hands on.
"They can see that scientists go outdoors, and that it's not all facts and figures," Wolfe said.
Jewell Tovar, 10, started talking about other scientists she had learned about who used journaling to capture their findings.
"We actually have a real page from a real scientist in our journals. We also have been documenting plants with creative writing," she said as she showed what she had written in her journal.
"We want them to see that what they are doing has real-world applications," Tucker said.
One of the main goals the teachers have for the program is a presentation at the end of the week. Students will show what they have learned at a special assembly for parents this morning.
"When we as teachers created this, we had to decide what our goal was," said teacher Diane Connelly. One goal was for the students to have a project that showed what they had learned all week. That project would also teach students to think creatively, she said.
The three teachers are in the two-year endorsement program and plan for the Summer Scholars program to continue for years to come. Teachers working with other subjects at the school are also involved in the endorsement program.
Wolfe said the teachers are already brainstorming ideas for next year. She got excited talking about a possible CSI unit or a mystery camp. She said the teachers know they can put together many subjects and show students how well the many subjects work together.
"I think this will really grow," Tucker said.