Ponca City News, Publication of New Life Trails Nomination for "ONE" Non-Profit Excellence Award

Ponca City News, Publication of New Life Trails Nomination for “ONE” Non-Profit Excellence Award


Monday, September 15, 2014

Teaching Math & Science with Results

This creative two-week summer camp with innovative teaching of math and science was a phenomenal success. Math scores rose 35%. Youths had fun, too. Plans are underway to use the model for after-school. This high energy, productive model can easily be adapted without Biblical references for the values. Renee Spears, one of the authors and co-founders, sent us a copy of a student math binder. The concept she and Ginger created works. They plan to expand the concept to other academic areas. A must read!

Ponca City hosted its first two week Math, Science, and Bible Character Camp at Harmony Baptist Church this July 19 to August 1, 2014. The Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation, a nonprofit foundation started by the late Ron Hartman to promote and assist tutoring for Ponca City’s students, sponsored the camp. The camp ran from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday, with 40 students from the public school enrolled.


Enrollment forms were taken to the schools at the first of August. Those returning the sheet with confirmation of attendance or declining received a turkey feather from a turkey that had been harvested that hunting season. A video of fainting goats was shown along with a description of other animals that would be attending the camp.

Reader’s Theater

Readers theater

Geometry anyone?


Of the 40 enrolled, 32 students attended, and 27 were there every day. A pre-test and a post-test were given to the students to assess their math skills. This included a multiplication sheet of the facts with no “twins” to prevent overwhelming the students. The test was designed as well as the math books that the students used through the weeks by Ginger Henley and Renee Spears, both teachers at Ponca City schools.

The math books consisted of one of every problem that a student encounters in third grade math curriculum. The students repetitiously worked through 25 pages of problems through the two weeks, beginning over at the first page each day. Problem sheets were cleverly inserted into plastic sleeves in a binder so students could work the problems with a non-permanent marker and then wipe off the answers. A lesson was briefly taught each day on a new math skill to review or enlighten the students.



The students began the day with Great Expectation practices of recitation with a quote, “We are conqueror of our destiny, not victims of our circumstances, and a motto, “I will not take personally what others say or do, it is a reflection of them, not me.” Then they would learn a new character trait with a Bible verse each day, totaling 11 character trait cumulatively by the end of the two weeks.

They would also learn that the power to live these character traits came only from God. The traits that come easily were their personality, not character. Character is when everything that you are does not want to do something, but you do it anyway because it is right.

High school students assisted

Science teacher 2

The students were given the knowledge of how to have this relationship with God and who they are once that is established. They were also taught about the Armor of God and how to use it to protect who they are. Short testimonials were given by high school student workers of these practices being effective in their lives.

After opening, they began a rotation of seven centers lasting 25 minutes a piece. These centers consisted of a science center, art center, math workbook center, multiplication facts center, reader’s theater center, recreation and animal center, and snack center. The curriculum for these centers was developed by Ginger and Renee.

Animals were an integral part of the fun.The students had visits from fainting goats, gave a horse a bath, groomed a miniature horse, watched a tarantula crawl on the head of a worker, watched the sheering of a sheep, and a fish being cleaned, and collected and touched feathers of different Oklahoma water fowl. Also, examples of instruments played by the high school was integrated through the week.

One of the summer camp stars–a bass fish!


Ginger’s son, Noah, caught for the program, a bass, Oklahoma’s state fish. The teachers dissected the fish and then kept the meat to cook. The kids were besides themselves. Some wanted to keep the liver, heart, etc. It was a riot!


An important part of our educational philosophy is that you have to have a child’s heart before you can have his or her mind. This concept was the identifying theme of the camp.

Hands-on experiments

Science experiments

At the end of each day of the camp, a different student group would perform a skit that had previously been performed by the leaders at the opening and then practiced during Reader’s Theater center. Character traits, the motto, and the quote would be reviewed along with a skit about bullying and bullying skills. For example, say, “Oh, really, hmm,” and then walk away, feel the pain and go on.

“Eat this, not that!”

with books outside

Crackers make learning more fun and tasty!


Finally, there were 27 students that attended every day. The students were given a peacock feather, donated by a peacock farm, if they did not miss a day. The test scores were only used from those 27. The results of the test showed a 35% increase in math skills over the two weeks. The students mastered their character traits, motto, quote and bullying skills.

The camp was dismissed with 32 student raising their right arm high and cheering,” We are conquerors of our destiny, not victims of our circumstances!” in front of a parent group of 60 that attended the closing ceremony where certificates were handed out. Funds for the camp were provided by Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation. For more information on the program, contact Renee Spears at Personal communication, 9-15-14

Renee’s oldest son, Nicholas,

and the family’s miniature horse, Boo.

The kids love him.

They can learn grooming with him and

aren’t so afraid because of his size.

Nicholas & Boo


Posted byBeverly Woodromeat8:00 AM

About the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative

In 2006, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence launched the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative. The mission of the program is to grow and strengthen Oklahoma youth mentoring programs.

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