Having fun placing photographs of the children on drawings of WhoVille characters.
By Laurie Gordon Byram - Although decorating the hallways is routine at the Byram Lakes Elementary School, this year the school took it to a whole new level by creating a competition. Art teacher Elenda McTaggart said it was the perfect opportunity to showcase the "teamwork initiative” that the Byram Lakes Related Arts team has been working on for years with both students and teachers. "The purpose was to boost morale and spirit of the season through working together," she said. Children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade were involved as well as every teacher. "I liked setting up everything and making all the snowmen," said 2nd-grader Jordan Speer. "I liked when the lights were off in our hallway." Each student and teacher voted on the hallway that was transformed the most, and votes were tallied prior to their “Deck the Halls” assembly held last Thursday. "I voted for 1st grade because the reindeer at the end of the hallway were really cool," said Veier Sinnott. She's in second grade and her favorite part was seeing her mother string lights in the school's hallway. "My favorite was the Grinch who was peeking and pretended he was an elf in the Kindergarten hall." said 1st-grader Patrick Brocky. Each grade level of the school selected a winter theme. “The teachers did an amazing job coming up with curriculum-based projects to do with their students based on the theme of their hallway,” McTaggart said. “We have a lot of very creative and inspiring teachers here at Byram Lakes who took hours out of their personal time and really took it to a new level this season.” The joy of winter was the goal regardless of religion, with focus on the excitement and magic of the season. “Students across the board used many of the techniques and Elements of Art that we use daily in the Art Room," McTaggart said. "From creating three-dimensional gingerbread houses out of cardstock, to kindergarteners making patterns using shape and color on their Who characters (Whoville), teachers reinforced these basics and turned them into exciting decorations.” She said that the uplifting feelings that the decorations evoke are "indescribable." "From the moment you walked into the building, it brought you to a magical place," she said. "The look on the students’ faces as we toured the hallways made every last detail worth tenfold. Truly a magical wonderland.” The Related Arts team is greatful, and McTaggart concluded that “teamwork makes dream work.”