by K.J. Lincoln
A kindergarten student and two 1st graders from Marshall are winners in the Chemists Celebrate Earth Week Illustrated Poetry Contest Alaska division.
Winning first place in the K-4th category was Kacy Peteroff who wrote “Walrus on an Ice Floe”. In second was Logan Turet, a 1st grader. His winning entry was a poem entitled, “Polar Bear”. The winning 3rd place poem was written by Kayla Fitka who wrote about eels.
The contest is sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS). All Alaskan entries were judged by the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Chemistry Club. The two entries selected for the national contest were by Daria Wilcox and Sophia Lee of West High School in Anchorage.
“We had been working on poetry in my kindergarten, and doing some joint lessons with the first grade. I chose haiku for the contest, because I knew we would be spending some time writing our poems and syllabication is a kindergarten standards reading skill,” wrote Marshall School kindergarten teacher Misty Circle. “Although the subject was ocean chemistry, because of their age and the remote location of our village, we received permission to focus on animals that lived in, and were affected by, ocean chemistry.”
Ms. Circle and her class discussed ocean animals and how they differed from fresh water animals. They conducted a couple of small experiments to illustrate the difference between fresh and salt water.
“We read books about different ocean animals and students chose the one they wanted to write about. To maximize learning and ensure that everyone had a chance to use their own voice, each student was required to choose their own individual animal,” she said.
The students worked diligently on their haiku poems and once those were finished, they created their illustrations using watercolors and oil pastels to create their artwork.
“I sent off their work, not really expecting anything, knowing the contest was statewide and that they were competing against students up to fourth grade, but incredibly proud of their effort,” said Ms. Circle. “Two days before school was out we were notified that Marshall students had won the top three places in the K-4 division. We put it out over CB and the whole village was cheering. This wasn’t just a win for three students, or for their families, it was a chance for the entire village to take pride in the achievement of their children.”