Soaring Higher #GearupNH Summer Academy

I am a proud member of the Gear Up Family. For those who do not know GEAR Up is a federally funded grant program, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. SCSU is part of a state grant along with sites in Waterbury and East Hartford. We work with students from 7th grade until they enroll in secondary education.

Campers discussing the first day with counselors

Every year we hold a summer academy for our students. This year over 100 students have joined us for the Soaring Higher program. The students have academic classes with a  problem based learning focus in the morning. They can then self-select afternoon enrichment activities such as sports, art, theatre, spoken word, or hair braiding. Each week they attend a field trip. This year we will go to the New England Air and Space Museum, to see All Shook up at the Ivortyon play house, and other wonderful trips.

Meeting Principal Dave


English and Language Arts

I serve as the academic coordinator for Literacy and Technology. This year the students will read a wide range of non-fiction. We are paying special attention to text structure and using signal words to help idetnify reasons, claims, and evidence.

We will also read  the novel Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis.  The story describes the evolution of Luther and Sparky as they try to escape troubles in Flynt, Michigan and the heavy handed tactics of Luther’s mother, “The Sarge.”


We are focusing on the following CCSS instructional shifts and standards  throughout the class:

Instructional Shift

Reading, writing, speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informative.

CCSS ELA RL/9-10/2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Student Learning Goals

RL 9-10.2 I understand that a theme develops from specific details that interact and build off of each other. and unfold.

Student Success Criteria

I can articulate the way a central theme  develops across the details of the text.

CCSS ELA RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Student Learning Goals

RL.9-10.3 I understand that how characters change affects the outcome of a plot.

Student Success Criteria

I can analyze how characters change throughout a text.

I can describe how a character affects other characters and events in a story.

CCSS ELA RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

Student Learning Goals

RI.9-10.7 I understand that the medium of a text can help emphasize different and specific details.

Student Success Criteria

I can determine which details are highlighted in different versions of the same text

CCSS RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence iis relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

Student Learning Goals

RI.9-10.8 I understand that credible arguments are built upon valid claims supported by evidence from a text.

Digital Teaching and Learning

The technology aspects, which involve a technology class as well as being embedded in all academics revolves around the Mozilla Web Literacies Standards. We will use a variety of Mozilla WebMaker tools and Chrome Plug-Ins in the class. Meanwhile we have created a Private Google+ Community to share our artifacts and images from camp.


The students had to create a six word definition of success using Mozzila Popcorn Maker. They will learn about website credibility by changing author perspectives using X-Ray Goggles. Finally they will make videos about what it means to “Soar Higher” using WeVideo.

While our Google+ community is private we encourage everyone to follow us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #GearUpNH.

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