Thursday, October 28, 2010

We're Stompin' Seeds at Allan Elementary

Today is Allan Elementary's annual Wildflower Stomp, an activity that's new to me but it was so much fun and I'm glad I came to visit today.

First, a cowboy hat is mandatory wear, so I was graciously offered one. I joined primary age classes in the school courtyard and we didn't actually stomp flowers — we stomp little seed balls into the dirt which will grow and bloom into Texas wildflowers next Spring. I'll schedule a visit back to Allan then because I really want to see the results of our stomping. Oh, and they let me keep the cool cowboy hat.

Allan was originally built as a junior high school in 1957, replacing "Big Red," a red-bricked school from the 1920s, located downtown at 9th and Trinity Streets. Sadly this old building (which was also once Austin High School before its move to the Rio Grande campus, now ACC) burned down in 1956. "New" Allan was converted into the elementary school we have today in 1980.

Principal Letty Botello greeted us with two knowledgeable and friendly student tour guides who proudly showed off their beautiful campus.

This is Red Ribbon Week and, at Allan, counselor Cathey Reynolds leads this effort to discourage use of drugs and alcohol. This is an important message even for elementary students because it won't be too far off when they're faced with making some critical choices about using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.

Our first stop was the parent resource room where Parent Support Specialist Josie Villareal was leading a discussion with a group of moms on grade-level reading and how to help their children improve reading skills.

Appropriately, the library was next where we met librarian Jane Scroggs. She said the library was expecting a full day with classes of kinder kids and first graders coming in for story time and to learn about using the facility. I liked seeing all the computers on the tables, just waiting for students to discover all they can learn using technology.

We strolled down the pre-k and kinder hallway and I met some of the cutest little learners (one little girl wouldn't let go of my hand ... awww). Allan Teacher of the Year Ms. Alsobrook had a delightful computer display of photographs of her students. Her class is multi-age and the kids stay with her for more than one year, so the youngsters delight in seeing their younger selves. She pops up a photo on-screen when their attention wanders and they instantly get back involved. Great idea! 

Then, we went outside to stomp! Students roll wildflower seeds into clay balls in art class. When the clay dries, the balls are ready for stomping day. Come Spring, students then create pictures of the lush wildflowers that have grown from the seedballs, and the art is sold in a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the school's art program.

Our visit to Allan was just lovely. I had to leave after the Stomp. Thank you, Allan Bulldogs.

I can tell that you live up to your motto. A Bulldog:
B ehaviors
A re
R espectful
K ind and
S afe