Evergreen Students Get a Kick out of Diversity Lesson

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Byline: Karen Kutz Daily Herald Staff Writer

East met West at Evergreen Elementary School in Carol Stream recently as students, teachers and parents celebrated "Taste of the Orient."

Students learned how to write haikus, a form of Japanese poetry, and participated in the ancient paper-folding art known as origami.

They sang songs through a karaoke machine, played Far Eastern games like fish painting and watched burly men in white robes break boards with their bare hands.

"I liked the martial arts the best," said 9-year-old third-grader Brett Kmowich.

For months, school staff, parents and students planned for the event held Friday as an educational alternative to traditional Halloween school parties.

Students, who wore self-made headbands with oriental lettering, also listened to stories about the Far East and dined on fried rice and fortune cookies.

They had to eat the rice with chopsticks. No forks allowed.

"I think it's a great experience for kids who are not normally exposed to this," said parent Gail Jones, whose daughter, Jessica, is a third-grader at the school.

It is the second year school officials have held a special event around Halloween to teach students more about cultural diversity.

Last year, students participated in a daylong event centered around American Indians.

Dinosaurs in Addison

Second grade was never so "awesome."

That's what kids at Army Trail Elementary School in Addison said last week, when class became more like a birthday party with a Jurassic Park theme than school.

High Touch-High Tech of Warrenville provided dinosaur bones and teeth, plaster of Paris, Popsicle sticks and brushes to help the students play paleontologist for a day.

"They cast a fossil in plaster of Paris, and use a Popsicle stick to dig until they hit the bone," said their teacher, Petra Siprian.

"After they hit it (the bone), they use the brush. Then they have to be gentle, so that they can lift it out completely in one piece," she said.

Of all the dinosaur fossils students got to pick from, tyrannosaurus rex was by far the most popular choice.

"They like T. Rex," Siprian said. "This is definitely one of the kids' favorite units."

All three second-grade classrooms at Army Trail study dinosaurs in science classes for just under four weeks.

The unit helps students understand different theories of extinction, how to judge from back teeth whether dinosaurs were plant or meat eaters, and how to determine from bones whether they walked on two or four feet or flew.

"This presentation helps them put it all together," Siprian said.

High Touch-High Tech offers similar school field trips, after-school programs and, yes, even birthday parties.

Glenbard North eatery

Any parent of a teenager knows just how much they eat.

Imagine, having to feed more than 1,000 every day.

"It's overwhelming," said Lorna May, manager of the cafeteria at Glenbard North.

May faced an added challenge last week when top talent from all four Glenbard high schools' orchestra and women's choruses came for an all-day rehearsal. …