’Tis the sea­son to learn for H.H. Gar­net stu­dents

Kent County News - - NEWS - By LEANN SCHENKE [email protected]­coun­tynews.com

CHESTERTOWN — Fourth-graders at H.H. Gar­net El­e­men­tary School got to be creative and fes­tive while learn­ing more about their town.

With the help of their teacher Dawn Reilly, stu­dents made plans for, con­structed and dec­o­rated gin­ger­bread houses mod­eled af­ter build­ings in Chestertown and at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege.

Reilly said the idea for the project came from some­thing she would do each year at a school she pre­vi­ously taught at in New Jersey.

First, her stu­dents took a walk­ing tour of Chestertown and the col­lege Dec. 7 with iPads. Reilly called the tour a scav­enger hunt, in which stu­dents had to find cer­tain build­ings in town and take pic­tures of them.

Then the stu­dents worked in small groups to iden­tify a build­ing they wanted to con­struct out of gin­ger­bread. The boys cre­ated build­ings from Wash­ing­ton Col­lege while the girls crafted land­marks in Chestertown.

Stu­dents cre­ated gin­ger­bread ver­sions of WC’s soc­cer field as well as some of its aca­demic build­ings. They also cre­ated a gin­ger­bread Garfield Cen­ter for the Arts, Stam Hall, the Kitchen at the Im­pe­rial, the Fish Whis­tle restau­rant and more. They even in­cluded docks at the Ch­ester River and wa­ter in the Hebe Foun­tain in Foun­tain Park.

The stu­dents also had to re­search in­for­ma­tion and his­tory about their build­ings, which they would present later to Reilly’s for­mer school through a Skype call to New Jersey on Fri­day, Dec. 14.

Stu­dents found out in­for­ma­tion like how old the build- ings are, what they have been used for and even if some are haunted.

Reilly said the project is part of a larger or­ga­ni­za­tion that con­nects schools around the world. Each school cre­ates a gin­ger­bread town and tells what they learned about their town through a Skype call with an­other school. Reilly said at her pre­vi­ous school, her class Skyped with an el­e­men­tary school in Aus­tria.

She said this pro­gram is some­thing she hopes to grow at Gar­net as well as share with other teach­ers in the county.

Her stu­dents also showed the dis­play to other stu­dents in fourth grade as well as other grades at Gar­net.

The stu­dents said cre­at­ing the gin­ger­bread houses took about two days to com­plete.

While Reilly said there were a few in­stances of trial and er­ror, the con­struc­tion of the houses was fun.

Par­ents do­nated most of the sup­plies with Reilly pur­chas­ing some as well, she said. Reilly also thanked par­ents for sup­ply­ing a near end­less amount of ic­ing for “glue­ing” all the pieces of the gin­ger­bread to­gether.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Reilly used Quick Re­sponse codes to link some of the build­ings with web­pages to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion for view­ers.

She said while she did the tech­ni­cal work this year, she plans to have her stu­dents learn it next year.


Dawn Reilly’s fourth-graders smile for the cam­era around a gin­ger­bread ver­sion of Chestertown Thurs­day, Dec. 13 at H.H. Gar­net El­e­men­tary School in Chestertown. The stu­dents crafted a town, which they then dis­played to an el­e­men­tary school in New Jersey.

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