Notes from the Classroom

Editor’s note: Our recurring series Notes from the Classroom gives teachers in Union County schools the opportunity to talk about experiences in the classroom or projects their students are working on. This week’s edition highlights experiences from Marvin Elementary School’s fourth and fifth grades.

Nicole Little and Wendy Mays

When the Marvin Elementary School Improvement Team decided to focus on one event for the holiday season, they did it big. The school adopted a sister school, Benton Heights Elementary, with the intent of sending each student there a stocking full of gifts.

For the past couple of years, the fourth- and fifth-grade students shared Christmas with their counterparts at Benton Heights, under the leadership of teachers Jessica Harrison from Marvin and Tracy Norman from Benton Heights. This year, Marvin leaders Harrison, fellow teacher Nicole Little, guidance counselor Moira Hancock and parent and Parent Teach Organization representative Karen Murphy, working with counselor Rhonda Williams and teachers from Benton Heights, endeavored to provide surprises for each of the 703 students at Benton Heights.

In late November and the first days of December, families registered online, shopped for gifts for younger or older elementary girls or boys and sent them in to school in gallon-sized sealable bags. Teachers and parents then checked the bags to ensure gifts in all categories and sorted by students, by primary or intermediate and girl or boy. Finally, classes and parent volunteers placed the items in 703 stockings and securing them in individual grocery bags, decorated with holiday artwork by fifth-graders on colored backgrounds to indicate the sorted subsets.

Adults and other students at the school also enjoyed seeing the fourth- and fifth-graders’ excitement as they donated, sorted and packed the gifts, learning the intrinsic rewards of generosity and the true meaning and spirit of the holiday season.

In addition to the stockings for each student, Marvin was able to gather a significant selection of gently used books and lots of school supplies for their friends at Benton Heights.

On Monday, the collaboration between the schools will continue as teachers from both schools caravan the bags from Marvin to Benton Heights in preparation for a big Christmas surprise for the students next week. Both schools are the better for the opportunity.

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