Christmas programs more than entertainment


An elementary level performance may seem both touching and amusing to some, but to teachers each play is a lesson -- part of what students must learn as they work their way through the Moffat County School District.

On Monday, Sunset Elementary School fourth-graders put on a winter production that not only had their peers laughing hysterically, it taught them memorization and how to perform in front of an audience, though performing wasn't a hang-up many of the fourth-graders had, Sunset Elementary School music teacher Denise Whitney said.

"One of the objectives of the music curriculum in all the elementary schools is the kids be involved in at least one performance," she said. "We feel it's really important they learn to express themselves and their feelings."

This is the first year the fourth- grade class has substituted a winter-themed play for a Christmas performance.

The reason?

Whitney said she read the play this summer about Eskimos who enjoy the snow and understand its dangers.

She fell in love instantly.

"I like to give students a challenge," she said. "I really like the way it helps them learn about another culture."

Students were given the opportunity to try out for some of the main parts and started practicing right after Halloween. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts helped them design some of the costumes -- some students dressed as giant snowflakes to simulate a snowstorm in which the two main characters were caught while trying to find their way home.

"They loved it," Whitney said. "In general, they do a really good job."

The students repeated their performance for parents Monday night.

Students at East Elementary School will have two performances this week.

The school choir will perform at 6 p.m. today, and the fourth-grade class Christmas musical will be at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The Maybell Elementary School Christmas program also will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

"It's amazing when you put the task to them how well they perform," East Elementary School Principal Diana Cook said.

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