'Slam dunk' is pupils' writing goal


November 27, 1997|By Christy Kruhm | Christy Kruhm,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SLAM DUNK has taken on new meaning for third-graders at Mount Airy Elementary School.

Thanks to a powerful demonstration by Western Maryland College basketball players, pupils score their writing in terms of a perfect "slam dunk."

Pupils can score two points when their writing efforts show thought, detail, extension and elaboration. Slam dunk is basketball lingo for a hard stuff of the ball into the goal.

The idea was a collaboration between physical education teacher Robin Townsend, language arts specialist Phyllis Sonnenleiter, and third-grade teachers Annie Blonkowski and Eileen Himes.

Sonnenleiter approached the third-grade teachers with the idea after attending a training conference, where a similar program had been presented. Blonkowski and Himes were excited with the concept, although unsure how to pursue it.

The teachers had been searching for a way to get their pupils excited about writing.

The teachers turned to Townsend for advice. She arranged for WMC basketball players Brian Billman and Jim Hegmann, with coach Kevin Selby, to visit the school Nov. 20.

The sophomores demonstrated skills and spoke to the children about basketball, especially about slam dunks.

They explained how slam dunks are scored during the NBA Slam Dunk Championships.

xTC The players urged the children to make the same connection to writing. Pupils were encouraged to ensure that their writing was the best it could be.

The players spoke about planning, attention to details, adding flair and style to draw in readers, and the importance of practice.

Townsend said the children were so impressed by the players that they became "fired up" during the program, even requesting autographs.

"Kids at that age are so impressionable," Townsend said. "These boys were so big, that to the kids they were on the same level as NBA players. They were heroes to these kids."

Blonkowski said the players presented positive role models. It will take a few weeks to evaluate changes in the pupils' writing. She hopes the children will remember that "if sometimes you don't hit the mark, do your best."

Christmas tree sale

For more than 40 years, Boy Scout Troop 460 has maintained a holiday tradition in Mount Airy by selling fresh-cut Christmas trees.

Beginning Saturday, Scouts will again sell locally grown Christmas trees to customers, many of whom return year after year. Many second- and third-generation Scouting families buy their Christmas trees from Troop 460.

This season, Troop 460 is selling fresh Douglas firs, white pines, Scotch pines and Fraser firs. Prices start at $25. Fresh pine wreaths are $20. The first 50 customers will receive free stands. Bill Hubble has donated the use of his land next to Four County Exxon, Route 27 and Interstate 70, for the sale.

Hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends through Dec. 21.

Holiday blood drive

Twin Arch Shopping Center will hold a holiday blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow. The shopping center is at Route 27 and Twin Arch Road, Mount Airy.

The theme is "Holiday Bear Drive." Those who donate blood can write notes of cheer on tags that will be attached to teddy bears and distributed to children in local hospitals.

Registration is being accepted at Mount Airy Chiropractic Center at the shopping center.

Information: 301-829-1717.

Pub Date: 11/27/97

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