St. Michael's Academy celebrates
Date: 2/10/2010Feb. 10, 2010.
By Debbie Gardner
Asst. Managing Editor
SPRINGFIELD -- Math lessons, line dancing demonstrations and hallways emblazoned with 480 life-size student "cutouts" were some of the highlights of Catholic Schools Week open house at the elementary campus of St. Michael's Academy, located in the former Holy Cross School building on Eddywood Street.
"We've had a nice flow of parents [today]," Elementary Campus Assistant Principal Ann Dougal told Reminder Publications last Wednesday. "It gives them a little taste of what their kids do in school, and the kids love having their parents come."
And the parents -- and grandparents -- seemed to enjoy the opportunity to visit the campus, too. Throughout the two-hour open house the halls were filled with parents peeking into classrooms, intently reading the essays attached to each life-size cutout, and enthusiastically applauding the line dancing demonstrations put on by the third, fourth and fifth grade physical education classes.
A few moms and dads, such as Jennifer Markey and Stacy Gardner, even joined in the dancing when their fourth-grade daughters Nora Markey and Isabelle Gardner invited them to try out the steps to the Cupid Shuffle.
And both students and parents seemed to enjoy the challenges presented by the fifth-grade math fair.
The project, brainchild of fifth-grade math teachers, Melinda McQuade and Sr. Constance Santilla, was a way for the school's older students to help their younger peers in kindergarten through grade four practice math skills in fun, interactive ways.
It was also a way for them to demonstrate the concepts they were learning to their parents.
"It was very engaging ... there was something for everyone to do," Dougal commented.
To create the fair, students in each of the fifth grade classrooms created a series of games demonstrating a specific math concept -- such as exploring the attributes of geometric shapes through a sequence of shaped puzzles -- that could be adapted for the understanding level of various grade levels.
Sr. Constance said the students worked for two weeks to develop workable concepts for their math-related games, using materials available in the school's supply cabinets.
"It's fun [for the fifth graders] and it's good for them to know they're teaching someone," Sr. Constance said. "One of my students turned around and said [to me], 'This is hard! Now I know what you do all day!'"