Archive for Thursday, May 17, 2007

LTMS students showcase year of learning

May 17, 2007

Watching eighth-grader Derek Smith work clay on a potting wheel last Thursday at the Lexington Trails Middle School Learning Fair, Ron Hooper said he was impressed with the many skills students displayed in the exhibits filling the school's cafeteria and gymnasium.

"It's always amazing the things kids get involved in," he said. "The thing that impressed me the most because it was kind of my profession is they are teaching kids to make 3-D contour maps. I would have loved to learn that in middle school. I didn't learn that until I was in college."

Walking among the student art, projects and demonstrations, seventh-grader Caitlin Walker said the evening was the chance to say goodbye to the Madagascar hissing cockroaches raised in science teacher Terresha Dinkel's classroom aquarium.

"This one's named Steve," she said, switching the ever-crawling three-inch-long roach from hand to hand. "They're really nice creatures. They have different personalities. This one is curious. Some are really protective and try to hide."

Walker was hoping to take Steve home. That was a possibility, Dinkel said, if her parents approved.

"Last year, I got rid of some," she said. "A lot of people took them."

In the cafeteria, eighth-grader Leta Singleterry was demonstrating the technique of drawing an object.

"She's drawing the negative space around it," said her eighth-grade classmate Karly Price, who found time to comment on Singleterry's drawing while polishing off a report on a laptop.

"It's on the '70s," she said. "Presidents, the economy, prices."

Lexington Trails gifted instructor Sarah Brown said the projects helped students retain knowledge much better than taking a test at the end of each chapter studied. There was also room for innovation in the assignments, which she said parents saw when viewing the end results.

"I was talking to one mother who said how it was fun to see her son's interpretation of some of these creative projects and those of other students," she said.

That individual creativity interested Kathy Dunlap, mother of LTMS sixth-grader Jake and seventh-grader Kasey. Among the class projects on display in the gymnasium that drew her attention were 3-D models that were cell structure modeled through an analogy of stores, apartments, motels and other buildings.

"I never did anything like that," Dunlap said. "I think that's what's really fun for them and allows them to learn a lot more at that stage.

"I think what was impressive was how they constructed some of the projects on their own and how they were inspired by the teachers."

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