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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on April 01, 2000 at 12:07:45:
SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE (Indiana) 18 February 00 Lively toads and frogs set stage for pupils' active reading (Kirby Sprouls)
Photo: First-grader Stacia Briggs delights in a toad brought to her Madison Elementary School class by Rick Glassman, right, of the St. Joseph County Extension Office. Teacher Kathy Johnson, left, has implemented a new science/ reading curriculum.
Some are slimy. Others jump out of your hands. A few even change colors.
They are the reptiles, amphibians and other critters that have invaded Kathy Johnson's first-grade class at Madison Elementary School in South Bend.
The pupils love seeing the live animals in the classroom. And, more importantly, they enjoy reading about them.
Johnson utilized a $500 grant from the South Bend Community School Corp. Education Foundation to buy materials for a curriculum called "Science Plus Reading Equals Success." She believes the program has helped her pupils in two areas--their understanding of science and their reading ability.
"The idea was to make science more alive with the animals and to teach reading skills through an interesting subject," Johnson says.
She used the grant to buy about 70 science books for beginning readers; science games stressing vocabulary and science terms; puzzles on such subjects as the life cycle of a frog, and take-home science kits for students.
Johnson also bought four anoles, lizardlike reptiles with the ability to change color. Other live animals are kept in small plastic terrariums and aquariums. She believes their presence has motivated pupils to read.
To complement the science/reading program, Johnson invited Rick Glassman of the St. Joseph County Extension Office into the classroom this week to explain the difference between amphibians and reptiles.