Education column: Mesa Elementary students excel

Students have been excelling again at Mesa Elementary.

One student recently won the New Mexico Arbor Day Poster contest. On May 17th the Arbor Day society will be at Mesa at 1:30 p.m. to present the young lady with her poster framed and a savings bond. Other activities include a tree being planted at the school, receiving books about trees for the Mesa library and the entire school will have cake and punch.

It is a pretty big deal, and all are proud of this young lady. For more information about Arbor Day, go to http://www.arborday.org/

Also highlighted at Mesa are several students of Jeremy Martin, gifted teacher. During a recent unit designed to fit into the classroom goals of critical and effective collaborative thinking, Martin had his fifth and sixth grade students participate in an online stock market game, sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s (SIFMA) Education Foundation. Information can be found at http://www.smgww.org/

For the online stock market game, students received a virtual account of $100,000 to invest and in the process, including realistic ups and downs, learned not only the basics of economics, but enhanced math skills, along with research best practices.

They learned about probability and risk and working together collaboratively. Students chose companies that interested them and had to base their decisions on sound judgment, sometimes convincing other team members.

As in real life it’s difficult to choose accurately. One team who “invested” in Google experienced losses. At the end of the game, Martin’s fifth grade students won second place in the state.

Another component of the SIFMA Foundation’s offerings was the subsequent stage of “InvestWrite” (http://www.investwrite.info/). At the end of the online stock market game, students entered an essay-writing contest, reflecting on their learning experience.

One of Mesa’s fifth-grade students won the fourth-fifth grade division, and a sixth-grader won the sixth-eighth grade division, both at the state level. Readers in New York reviewed the essays “blind,” and the next stage will be entry into the national competition. Prizes for national winners include a laptop and a trip to New York (Wall Street), among other things.

Winning students at the April 28th awards ceremony in Albuquerque attributed their success in writing to Kit Smith, veteran teacher at Mesa.

While discussing these happenings with Principal Carrie Bunce, a gorgeous Bernese dog with a security badge walked sedately by us.

“Oh, that’s Kona,” Bunce said, “who belongs to one of our parents. He’s a licensed therapy/rescue dog we’ve recently tried with some of our struggling readers, who read to him; Kona’s a very willing audience.”

Other important goals for Mesa: more technology infused into classrooms for actively and interactively engaging students and an expanded library collection.

Congratulations to these outstanding students on their accomplishments. This Blue Ribbon school continues to embrace innovative teaching and learning.

There’s a Chinese proverb that expresses it well: “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.”

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at cindy.kleyn-kennedy@clovis-schools.org