School makes learning fun for parents, students

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

FERRIDAY — Ferriday Upper Elementary fourth-grade teacher Zona Ellard had her hands full of dirt Tuesday night.

“This is what your cup is supposed to look like,” she said, holding a clear plastic cup filled with dirt for a group of on-looking students to see.

“Can anyone tell me what worms do with the dirt?”

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Some students clamored to give answers, but others were content to shovel the dirt — Oreo cookies and pudding — into their mouths.

Ellard’s dirt cake-making workshop was part of a study of earthworms and how soil is formed, one of the stations at FUE’s Family Math and Science Night.

The math and science night is a yearly event at FUE, a sister event to the literacy night it had last month, which served as a kind of unofficial kick-off for the testing season.

“We do this to help bring the parents in and teach them test-taking strategies to make sure the students do well on the LEAP test,” FUE Assistant Principal Joyce Ivory said.

“We focus on math and science because they’re the biggest parts of the test.”

As students finished up at Ellard’s table, she gave them a worksheet to take home, finish and bring back to school, promising her students who did so a treat.

The sheet was about accurately counting rocks in the soil, and Ellard said she chose it because it went along with what she was teaching in class.

“The (question) is a representative question of what would be on the LEAP test,” she said.

Lakisha Harbor, the mother of 10-year-old Destiny Harbor, said she appreciated the school opening its doors after hours.

“I think it is great fun for the kids,” she said. “It’s important to prepare for the tests.”

Third grader Reginald Montgomery’s mother Angela Oliver said she, too, was glad for the opportunity.

“It helps the parents get involved with what is going on,” she said. “Some of us have been out of school so long that we need to catch up with the kids.”

Reginald is Oliver’s fourth child to go through the school, so she has participated in the test preparation programs before.

“It has helped a lot,” she said.

But while she was glad for the opportunity to go to the school, learn a few things and hang out with her friends, fourth grader Rekeilya Brooks was cool when she considered the upcoming tests.

“I’ll do good,” she said. “I know my stuff.”