Standing out from the crowd | Annie Livengood

Editor’s Note: Crestwood Elementary Principal Tom Shearer co-authored this column with Annie Livengood.

At first, the Crestwood first grade students may look just like any other from all around the state. However, there is one thing screaming out to say that ours are uniquely different.

That one reason is because of the amazing first graders have become champions. Yes, sight word champions with the too-good-to-be-true team of teachers.

Allison Foster, Amanda Parker-Jones, and Catherine Molloy, a trio of first grade teachers at Crestwood, came up with the clever idea to motivate students to learn 84 sight words based on the new Common Core State Standards. Each child has to declare that he knew all of the words, followed by demonstrating each without one mistake. All three teachers are very excited with the most recent results. An astonishing 90 percent of the first grade class are sight word champions and received a shirt with all 84 words on the back.

It is common to see students a few days a week strutting the halls with pride, wearing their new shirts. Providing this gift was just the cherry on top, reflecting all the first graders’ hard work. All three teachers realize learning the words early push the development of stronger readers in years to come and could not be happier with the outcome. Foster, Parker-Jones, and Molloy are only a couple students away from having 100 percent champions in their classes. We all hope for that by the time school ends June 19.

Another really cool thing is that two of the three sixth grade classes have reading buddies! Mrs. Marshall’s class is buddies with Mrs. Parker-Jones’s class, Mrs. Mansfield’s class (my class) is with Mrs. Rizzo and Lapp’s class. On Fridays, right before lunch at 11 a.m., we amble down to the kindergarden classroom and somehow find the buddy you were first paired up with. If kids are out numbered, or one student is absent, there may be two sixth graders with a little guy. Each week, you read book to your buddy, but recently our buddies have been reading to us! It’s actually really fun to see your little friend grow and learn more, hear them tell you things and read. I even remember when I had a reading buddy. One of my friend’s brother was paired with me.

Our school is working together to help each other, and I think it’s really awesome how we are all connected in a way. Cross your fingers we get 100 percent on our sight word champs. But don’t worry, we will rock you!

Annie Livengood of Covington is an aspiring journalist and sixthgrader at Crestwood Elementary.


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