By Sarah Naron
GRAPELAND – The members of the Grapeland Independent School District Board of Trustees took a break during their regularly scheduled monthly meeting Monday, Oct. 22 to allow for entertainment from a few special guests.
Several kindergarten students – along with Grapeland Elementary School kindergarten teachers Judith Currie and Jessica Stafford – attended the meeting to give the board members an inside look at some of the activities they enjoy during the course of their schooling each day.
According to Currie, one of the centers focuses on helping the students identify sight words.
“We’re pushing our kids to learn 100 sight words this year,” she explained. “They each work at their own level; they get to move up on their own.”
As certain levels of sight word recognition are passed by a student, he or she begins to reap special rewards, Currie said.
“Level 10 will be like popcorn and a drink, and level 15 will be pizza,” she shared. “If they get all 20 levels – which is the 100 words – they get to go on an extra incentive field trip.”
Also presented to the board was a reading station, where students work on various aspects of recognizing the letters of the alphabet.
“Some of them are just working on matching uppercase and lowercase letters,” explained Stafford. “Some are working on letter sounds. Some are actually blending words already, where they’re putting consonant-vowel-consonant words together.”
A third station is focused on mathematics.
“We have some addition, where they build a math sentence – 5 + 2 = 7,” Currie divulged. “We have some where they have to look at their 10 frames and be able to tell you what number the 10 frame represents, and they will put their clothespin onto the number that it represents.”
The math center also presents the students with the opportunity to learn various ways to display a number, Currie continued.
“They will have to write out their math sentence and build it with their unifix cubes,” she explained.
A science center provides the students with the chance to observe and learn about various topics, Stafford said.
“We’re working on the life cycle of a pumpkin this week for Halloween,” she said. “We did seasons, where they put the seasons in order. For Peanut Festival, we actually made homemade peanut butter.”
As Currie further explained, a fifth station is devoted to the study of Johnny Appleseed.
“We actually tasted the different color apples and graphed which one we like the most,” she said. “We made a little Johnny Appleseed craft, and each kid had their own little Johnny Appleseed hat that we wore home.”
The station also allows the students to paint apples onto apple trees, Currie added.
Following the presentation by Stafford and Currie, each of the board members took time to further familiarize themselves with the centers by participating with the students.
At the conclusion of the board’s time in the centers, GISD Superintendent Don Jackson took the opportunity to praise the kindergarten teachers.
“We’re excited to have them,” he said. “They’re a great team.”
Jackson also expressed gratitude for the parents who brought their kindergarten students to the meeting.
“Thank you for allowing your children to show us what they’re learning,” he said.
Sarah Naron may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.