FROZEN in time

Stu­dents plant time cap­sule

The Covington News - - SUNDAY LIVING -

By Jenny Thompson jthomp­son@cov­news.com

Heard-Mixon El­e­men­tary fifth­grade teach­ers Mary Hor­ton and Sandi New­sham spent Fri­day morn­ing be­fore class dig­ging up a year-old “pump­kin box.”

A pump­kin box is a sort of time cap­sule, named af­ter the first story Ge­or­gia stu­dents read in fifth grade as part of state cur­ricu­lum — “The Pump­kin Box.”

Hor­ton ex­plained the story fol­lows char­ac­ters Char­lie and Billy as they dig for buried trea­sure in a va­cant lot, and ac­tu­ally find a box cov­ered with pump­kins con­tain­ing a yo-yo, a book, three Buf­falo nick­els and a pho­to­graph.

Be­cause the char­ac­ters give away the items in the box and de­cide to share the pho­to­graph, three years ago Hor­ton de­cided to have her stu­dents bury their own pump­kin box.

“It’s just a neat way to start the year,” Hor­ton said.

Stu­dents pick an item near and dear to them — dolls, small stuffed an­i­mals, foot­ball trad­ing cards and au­to­graphed base­balls — and write an ad­dressed let­ter about why they chose it. This year stu­dents un­earthed the box from last year, chose one item and wrote a thank you let­ter to the now sixth-grade stu­dent who buried it the year be­fore.

Next year the stu­dents will re­ceive thanky­oulet­ters­fromthe newHeardMixon fifth grade class.

“It re­ally bonds the kids and gets them ex­cited about all sub­jects,” Hor­ton said

She said the project com­bines many sub­jects be­cause stu­dents read the story and talk about theme, write proper friendly let­ters, cal­cu­late the time the box has rested un­der­ground, dis­cuss his­tory through items such as Buf­falo nick­els and other dated ma­te­rial and ex­plore the science of arche­ol­ogy.

Ten-year-old Sara Hodge de­cided to bury a doll she has had since she was four. She said Hor­ton told her class giv­ing up some­thing they have had for a long time is like giv­ing a piece of their self, and they should write about what their item has meant to them through the years.

“She wanted us to put some­thing spe­cial in for the class next year,” Hodge said, “and to learn how to share and stuff.”

Shanila White, 10, chose a key chain from last year’s items. She said it­was spe­cial be­cause the stu­dent had made it her­self. Zachary Cham­bers, 10, also re­ceived some­thing very per­sonal — the golf ball that earned some­one their first hole-in-one.

“It helps you fig­ure out per­son­al­i­ties of stu­dents be­fore you and fig­ure out how you can re­late to them,” Cham­bers said.

Whitea­greedall theit­ems­di­vulged bits of the stu­dents’ per­son­al­i­ties. She chose to bury a real starfish she bought while on sum­mer vacation in Florida.

“It was unique,” White said. “Not many peo­ple put a real starfish in there and I thought it­would be cool.”

Cham­bers thought some­one could learn from his item. He buried Costa Ri­can cur­rency— colones— he had leftover from a spring break trip.

“It’s im­por­tant be­cause it rep­re­sents other coun­tries and helps you fig­ure out what they use and it has their pres­i­dents on it so it tells you about their democ­racy,” Cham­bers said.

Hor­ton and New­sham’s mes­sage on the im­por­tance of shar­ing must have im­pressed 12-year-old Kelsie English.

“I knew some kids wouldn’t bring some­thing, so I brought seven ex­tra farm an­i­mals,” English said.

HeaddedNew­shamwas his fa­vorite teacher be­cause she made read­ing fun. He said he en­joyed read­ing the story as well as what other peo­ple thought of their items.

Hor­ton said she hopes to have buried enough items this year to have all the fifth-grade classes at HeardMixon par­tic­i­pate next year.

“It re­ally crosses all gen­res as far as char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment and think­ing about oth­ers rather than your self, and shar­ing and car­ing,” Hor­ton said, “and hav­ing a con­nec­tion with the past and shar­ing the fu­ture.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Above: Heard-Mixon fifth graders Joshua Dick­son, left, Me­shai Shep­pard, Mag­gie Berry and Zachary Cham­bers as­sist teacher Mary Hor­ton as they lower the Pump­kin Box into the ground Fri­day morn­ing. Left: Stu­dents fill the Pump­kin Box with notes and items from home that have spe­cial mean­ing, such as a fa­vorite Bar­bie doll and mes­sage from Sara Hodge.

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