IN OUR SCHOOLS

Lex. 1 school closes chapter on popular book with fair

brantin @thestate.com (803) 771-8306June 6, 2013 

— An overcast sky outside Thursday morning couldn’t block the rays of laugher and sunshine in the hallways of Pleasant Hill Elementary School.

After all, everyone loves a county fair.

Third-graders at the Lexington 1 school took a little inspiration from the E.B. White classic, “Charlotte’s Web,” as they held an old-fashioned carnival to conclude their study of the popular children’s novel.

It was the fourth year of the county fair that was started by Pleasant Hill lead third grade teacher Stacy Whisennantcq.

“A lot of times the kids don’t get to experience some of the old timey games or to go to a county fair,” Whisennant said, adding the morning offered a way to do that while bringing the story of “Charlotte’s Web” to life.

“It’s just great way to end the year,” she said.

For several hours Thursday, students took part in a series of fair-style games that included a pie-eating contest, balloon toss, face painting, three-legged race and a cup cake walk. And true to form, there were more than enough crafts, popcorn, snow cones, cupcakes and other treats to keep a young heart happy.

“It’s just really fun and I just like doing all these different activities,” said third-grader Mason Morris, who claimed top honors in one round of the pie-eating competition while also making a big splash in the balloon throw.

This year’s event had to be moved inside for the first time because of weather, but the lessons from the book – particularly those of lasting friendships – were not lost on the participants.

“Charlotte’s Web” chronicles the story of Wilbur the pig and his friendship with a clever barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur faces slaughter by the farmer, Charlotte spins a series of messages in her web praising the pig to convince the farmer to spare his life.

“It’s just such an awesome story,” said Pleasant Hill third grade teacher Banie Parrish. “It has everything in it. It’s funny. It’s sad. It’s about friendship. It’s a timeless story.”

For third-grader HannaGrace Templesno space is cq on first name, whose morning included trips to the snow cone stand, bowling station and water balloons, the story left a lasting impression.

“It tells the story about the friendship between a pig and a spider,” HannaGrace said. “It was heartbreaking when Charlotte passed away.”

Pleasant Hill principal Margaret Mitchum said the day’s activities were an excellent way to reinforce the lessons in the story.

“I think it does deepen their understanding of the book when they are putting it into action,” Mitchum said. “When they look back on their elementary days, they’ll remember this.”

But Whisennant admitted she was relieved that many of those energetic memories would be relived after the school day.

“I can’t wait to send them home to their parents,” she allowed slyly. “They’ll be so filled with sugar by the end of the day.”

Reporter Bryan Betts contributed.

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