Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2005

Student projects wow Lexington Trails parents

May 19, 2005

Perusing over tables of well-finished ceramics and ornate literature projects on display at Lexington Trails Middle School Thursday night, Terry Zahner and Dan Kopp were impressed.

Both dads agreed middle school shop projects of their day were nothing like these.

"I tell you what, they're doing some neat stuff -- a lot of talent in that hallway," Zahner said.

The men were among onlookers at the Lexington Trails learning fair, an end-of-school display where families could scope out the projects that kept their students busy all year. The learning fair began at 5 p.m., leaving visitors enough time to browse before the school music concert later that evening.

Art in action could be found in the school's cafeteria.

Visitors watched students make drawings, slab pots or paint Georgia O'Keefe-style floral paintings using techniques they learned in art classes throughout the year.

"Emotions in pastels" was another popular table.

"Can you guess what emotion this is?" sixth-grader Briana Hooper asked passers-by, holding up a piece of her own artwork.

After a try or two, many correctly guessed excitement. Briana had conveyed the emotion by filling a large sheet of white paper with fuzzy-edged purple, red, blue and electric-green squares.

Briana and her sixth-grade tablemates explained an emotion like anger, for example, might be best represented with colors like black or red.

In the school's media center, eighth-grade communication arts teacher Nikki Leisten oversaw the Holocaust and World War II museum.

Leisten said her classes spent much of the last quarter studying the subject through books, movies and poetry. Museum artifacts comprised student projects on the subject of their choice and included a hand-sewn women's baseball jersey, Nazi concentration camp models, Anne Frank-esque diaries and a World War II fashion display.

"They did a great job," Leisten said. "Some of them are really unique."

Leisten said students put a lot of work into their projects and that the learning fair was a chance for them to be seen by more people.

The gym housed table after table of additional student projects: more artwork, poetry notebooks, rockets, student-sewn duffel bags, small robots and balsa wood bridges.

Kopp said he enjoyed seeing projects from various classes, not just art.

"This is a great way for the students and school to show off the talent they have," he said. "It's a real good opportunity for them to showcase their skills."

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