Let it snow, let it snow

Shelbi Jeffries, 4, makes a snow angel in a pile of ice at Old Town Elementary during "Fun in the Snow" day on Friday. Gainesville Ice brought 8 tons of ice to create a snow slide for elementary school students as part of their science lesson.

TRACY WILCOX/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 12:18 a.m.
Children who grow up in the North know that the declaration of a "snow day" means there is too much snow on the ground to open the schools.
When a snow day is declared here, children actually look forward to going to school because it means they get the rare opportunity to go sledding.
For the second consecutive year, pre-kindergartners at Old Town Elementary School finished their science unit on states of matter - gas, liquid, solid - by declaring a snow day. Eight tons of pulverized ice were used to cover a giant slide in the school's back parking lot. Then two at a time, the 4- and 5-year-old students went sailing down the mini ramp on plastic sleds.
"We did this because liquid is water and ice cubes is solid," said 5-year-old Ethan Braden.
Teacher Chris Siegel said a state grant was used to cover the $3,000 cost of creating the frosty ramp.
"Since we already had this set up for the pre-K students, we thought we might as well let the other grades enjoy it, too," Siegel said.
Most of the school's 530 students got a number of chances to enjoy the ramp before it melted away.
Third-grader Cheyenne Siegel has never seen real snow - the kind that can shut down entire school districts for a day - but was certain she could explain what it was all about.
"It feels like real snow with all kinds of bumps," Cheyenne said after the first of her several turns on the sleds.
Principal H. "Sonny" Wadsworth said the introduction to snow is part of a two-pronged effort in pre-kindergarten classes.
Students participate in the early reading efforts, which include lessons in science, social students and math, and they are exposed to experiences not normally available in Dixie County.
"We want to make them more aware of the larger world," Wadsworth said.
Four-year-old Ethan Greer was one of the first two children down the ramp.
"It was fun. Fun. Fun. Fun," Ethan said as his classmates nodded their heads in vigorous agreement.
Karen Voyles can be reached at 486-5058 or voylesk@gvillesun.com

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