To prepare for the Ohio Achievement Tests, the students at the Merwin Elementary School held a week of fun and educational activities April 14-18.
This week-long celebration on the importance of preparedness, as the elementary school deemed it, was initiated to prepare the students for not only the scheduled state achievement tests (which were held this week), but for scheduled testing all throughout the entire school year as well.
“We decided that we wanted the kids to know that we work all year to prepare them for tests, and not just the week or two before” said Merwin Elementary principal Jackie Hospelhorn. “Our whole year is focused on preparing our students for tests, so this week is designed to allow the kids to learn what they need to know to prepare, all in a fun and memorable way.”
Last week, each school day had its own theme to illustrate that point.
Tuesday was exercise your mind day, giving students an understanding of the importance of staying active and alert (mentally and physically).
On Wednesday, the school held its first ever pep rally, which Hospelhorn said was a huge hit with the kids. The pep rally, with performances by the West Clermont marching band and the Amelia High School cheerleaders, stressed the importance of always putting forth best efforts in regard to testing and every other endeavor that students are engaged in.
Thursday was thinking cap day. Students designed and made their own thinking caps to stress the importance of thinking very carefully before answering questions.
And the day that was the most fun for the school was Friday, when teachers and students wore their pajamas to school, which not surprisingly brought home the point of getting a good night's sleep before testing.
There was also a blow-up planetarium on the school grounds Thursday and Friday for the students to learn about nature, which Hospelhorn said the students loved.
"All of the activities during the week were so students would realize how to retain information and then apply what they learned when they need it," the principal said.
Having fun while learning is what this is really all about."
The week of activities was so much fun for the 690 students at Merwin, the largest elementary school in the West Clermont School District, that the school hopes to make it an annual event.
"The kids were loving every minute of it," Hospelhorn said. "What we do every day prepares us for tests and everything else in life, so every lesson is important. We want our kids to know that learning is fun."
Judging from the response of the students, the message was heard loud and clear.
Fifth-grader Nicole Cobb, who was wearing colorful pajamas and oversized fluffy house slippers, was one of those enthusiastic students.
"We all learned so much about how to be prepared and had so much fun this week," she said. "I wish we could do this every day."