Norwood STEM students stay busy before break
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 10:56

Dual assemblies mark day before Thanksgiving

by Nicole Rodman

    While many people were taking off or leaving early in preparation for Thanksgiving last Wednesday, at Norwood STEM Program the day before the holiday was a busy one for students and staff.
    Students were treated to two assemblies designed to reinforce skills and lessons introduced in classrooms all year long.
    Last Wednesday morning, all of Norwood’s students, from pre-kindergarten to third grade, gathered in the school’s gymnasium to get a glimpse into the life of a published author.
    Kindergarten and third grade classes gathered for a 9 a.m. assembly with the author, while the school’s remaining students assembled shortly after.
    Visiting the school to discuss his books was new children’s author Dann Price.
    “I go out to all kinds of schools,” Price told The Eagle. “Since April, I’ve been visiting schools and doing all kinds of assemblies.”
    While last week’s assembly was not his first, for Price, being at Norwood was nontheless special. His wife, Kelly Price, taught fifth grade at the school last year.
  

Price said he began writing children’s books as a way to entertain his kids during tough times.
    With his wife in treatment for a brain tumor four years ago, Price started writing books “as a way to get away from it and be silly” with his children.
    Price’s books, three of which have been published so far, revolve around Wesley the Weasel and his adventures learning about the world around him.
    Each book combines silly stories and rhymes with a message that children can take to heart.
    Price’s books include Wesley the Weasel Can’t Stop His Sneazel, Wesley the Weasel Learns to Say Pleasel and Wesley the Weasel Doesn’t Like to Be Teaseled.
    At last Wednesday’s assembly, Price read all three of his books to the students.
    While reading the first book, Price even chose two student volunteers to come to the front and act out the story as he read it.
    Price also discussed the writing process — from brainstorming ideas to publishing the finished product.
    At the end of the assembly, Norwood assistant principal Mari Morris and principal Pat Gol-
dys taught students special hand motions to help them remember each of the five steps of the writing process.
    “All the students have learned how to write and the writing process. Students write stories every day during their writing time,” Goldys explained, noting, “Mr. Dann came to show them they can write books, not just stories.”
    While students were excited to meet and speak with a real author, the day’s excitement was just getting started.
    At 2 p.m. last Wednesday afternoon, Norwood students gathered once again for the school’s good deed assembly.
    The assembly, held for the first time this year, was organized by Goldys and Norwood’s behavioral intervention specialist Michael Gorecki.
    The aim of the event, according to Gorecki, was to “teach our kids to have a positive attitude, to do good things for people and  to be kind to others.”
    As students streamed in to the assembly, they stopped along the way at drop off goods in three boxes marked “Cards for Kids,” “Maryland Food Bank” and Thank You Troops.”
    As Gorecki noted, in preparation for the good deed assembly, students in each class prepared their own good deeds to share with those in need.
    Students in pre-kindergarten through first grade  created cards that will be delivered to sick children receiving treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital over the holidays.
    Students in second and third grades wrote letters of thanks that will be sent to troops stationed overseas.
    In addition, all students and staff were invited to bring in canned goods to be donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
    At last week’s assembly, representatives from each of these organizations were on hand to discuss with students the importance of doing good deeds.
    At the end of the assembly, students got a surprise as a number of the school’s staff and teachers announced that they would donate their long locks to an organization called Wave of Hope.
    Run by hair stylist Debbie Evans, Wave of Hope provides hairpieces for people who have lost their hair due to medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
    Using donated hair, Evans creates “halos,” partial hairpieces that can be worn under any headcovering.
    Hair to be donated must be at least six inches long, clean and free of styling products.   
    For more, visit www.
waveofhopeinc.com.
    For those donating at last week’s assembly, not only did they announce their intentions to donate, but they actually had their hair cut on stage for the whole school to see.
    As students looked on, Goldys, Morris and the other staff members had their long locks clipped for a cause.
    Noting that she had been growing her hair out for a year with the intention of donating it, Goldys told the students, “This is something I always wanted to do.”
    As the assembly came to a close, Gorecki tasked the students with continuing to perform good deeds throughout the year.
    He concluded, “You can do good deeds all the time, not just on special days.”