WINNEBAGO - The halls of Winnebago Elementary are taking on a festive air, with students decorating classroom doors and trying to make the season a little brighter for those less fortunate.
"Quite a few years back, we'd do a door-decorating contest," said Fay King, adviser to the student council.
So she brought it back.
HOLIDAY?CHEER?— Valentin Alvarado points to one of the decorations he made for the first-grade classroom door at Winnebago Elementary. Each class is decorating its door for the holiday season.
"It's a way of bringing in leadership opportunities for the student council and bring fun back into the activities we do," she said. "For the older kids, it's a way to set an example for the younger students."
Students are working on the doors, which will be judged Dec. 19. The winning class is supposed to get a special activity before winter break begins Dec. 22, but King is reconsidering.
"They're all looking so good, we might have to come up with a schoolwide activity," she said.
Sydney Blair and Blake Townsend have enjoyed the project in King's fifth-grade classroom. The door features a Christmas tree made of construction paper, decorated with ornaments that have pictures of all 11 classmates, as well as falling snowflakes.
The kids colored the ornaments that bear their pictures. That was Townsend's favorite part.
"When I see a wreath, I think of Christmas first thing," he said. "And our pictures are in it. I can see everybody; I can see my friend."
"My favorite part is how the tree is 3-D," Blair said. "That's what we were going for. It looks cool all together."
Valentin Alvarado likes the ornaments he got to make for the first-grade door.
"I got to color it," he said.
All 21 first-graders colored a lot because the decoration takes up not only the door of Pam Armon's classroom, but a couple of feet around it, rising to a peak, making it look like a gingerbread house.
"They sure had fun doing it," Armon said. "Working together and having fun is the biggest part of it."
Teamwork is also a big part of "Penny Wars," ongoing at Winnebago Elementary.
Students can bring in pennies until Friday, with proceeds going to the Winnebago food shelf. Support is big in Armon's classroom, and she uses the activity as a learning experience.
"We clap for anyone whatever they bring in," she said, whether it's just a few pennies or more.
And the kids have to count the money they bring.
"One boy brought in $12.68 [on Thursday]," Armon said. "I had to have a para[professional] help him count it."
"For the younger grades, it's really good math experience," King said. "Bring in academics with the activity."
The teachers explain to students what the food shelf does and why it's important.
"It's the idea of sharing and giving to others when they need help," King said. "[Penny Wars] is a nice way to share with others."