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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Three Rs More Fun With Music, Art

Make a little mask, do a little math.

Write a little song, make your language strong.

Ath, bath, path, what rhymes with math?

Hmm. These lyrics need help. But the general idea - teaching basics, via art and music - is the heart of Ron and Marsha Feller’s work.

Patty Hollingsworth’s class of third- and fourth-graders at Sunrise Elementary School had better luck with their lyrics this week.

The Fellers are teaching at Sunrise for two weeks. They’ve spread their ideas in schools across the United States for 26 years.

“If the children have created something, they have a vested interest,” Ron said.

Creating sun masks - appropriate for Sunrise - was the first activity. Wavy sun rays, contrasting colors and a flourish of curly ribbon made the kids’ work look surprisingly professional. They folded paper - fractions. They measured. They estimated lengths.

One boy held up his pink and blue mask for approval.

“Zach! Terrific!” Ron pronounced.

“Look at the interesting designs Bridget is putting on her masks,” Ron continued. “How old are you, Bridget? Fourteen?”

“Nine,” Bridget Reilly answered.

Masks complete, more or less, the kids gathered in front of a white board, ready for songwriting.

First came a little vocabulary exercise.

“When you think of the sun, what are some words you think of?” asked Marsha.

Blaze, hot, fire, bright, inferno.

The brainstorming went on. Soon, the kids were trying out lyrics for their Sunrise song.

Someone hummed a simple melody. Ron accompanied on the auto harp. Marsha wrote, erased, wrote again.

And within an amazingly short time, a highly singable, toe-tapping song emerged, selling the strengths of Sunrise kids.

“We are a very good class,” piped up Bridget.

They rehearsed one last time, and Marsha turned on the mikes.

Voila. It took two quick takes to capture the song. And when Marsha played it back, the faces of these children were a picture. Joy. Amazement. Curiosity. Pride.

Don’t be surprised if Sunrise adopts a new school song this year.

Oops, we meant secretary

Jessie Boltjes, sixth-grader at Sunrise Elementary, was elected ASB secretary last week.

Her office was inaccurately reported in last week’s Education notebook.

Community service award

Calling all school students who are into community service.

If you’re itching for recognition, be aware of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. These awards are given on local, state and national levels.

Last year, a middle school student in Seattle won a state award after raising $6,000 for a nonviolence and leadership training program. He helped teach 70 participants from seven states how to apply the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King to solve community conflicts.

A high school student won after starting her own book drive nearly five years ago and distributing nearly 9,000 books to needy students in the Seattle area.

The flier about these awards suggests that interested students ask their principals right away for more information. Applications must be in by Oct. 30.

St. Mary’s School leaders

Students at St. Mary’s Catholic School have elected their leaders for the year.

Ryan Mountjoy, eighth-grade, is president; Molly Budinsky, eighth-grade, is vice president; Katie Taylor, seventh-grade, secretary-treasurer; Eric Nord, seventh-grade, commissioner of spirit; and Samantha DeLeo, eighth-grade, commissioner of ministry.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: The Education Notebook is the spot The Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com

The Education Notebook is the spot The Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com

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