Fourth-grade students at Roosevelt and Eisenhower elementary schools have been learning a lot about “The Nutcracker.”

Fourth-grade students at Roosevelt and Eisenhower elementary schools have been learning a lot about “The Nutcracker.”
Thanks to a grant from the McPherson Education Foundation, the students have learned a variety of skills centered on “The Nutcracker,” from reading to individual projects to art appreciation.
Carmen Zeisler, a fourth-grade teacher at Roosevelt, said her students have read books showing various perspectives and versions of “The Nutcracker” and learned about the ballet in music class. On Friday, fourth-graders from both schools were able to see parts of “The Nutcracker” ballet in Hutchinson.
“We’ve just been ‘Nutcracker’ crazy over the last few weeks,” Zeisler said.
Abby Pierce, a fourth-grader at Roosevelt, said she had the chance to act like wheat during their visit to the ballet.
“It was fun,” Pierce said. “I’ve never had a whole bunch of people looking at me. I felt like I was something special.”
Students also had the chance to create their own “Nutcracker”-related project based on their interests and talents. These projects were showcased on Wednesday at Eisenhower and today at Roosevelt.
Projects at Eisenhower included wood, paper, LEGO and digital representations of nutcrackers, as well  as cakes, drawings, a piano piece and a gymnastics interpretation related to the ballet.
Zoey Whorton, a fourth-grader at Eisenhower, built the Sugar Plum Fairy's castle out of graham crackers and candy. She said the fairy is her favorite character.
“She does a really cool dance,” Whorton said.
Kaylee Zeitlow, another Eisenhower fourth-grader, learned to play one of the ballet’s songs on piano.
“It’s fun because you get to pick your talent In what you want to do,” Zeitlow said. “I liked learning about the composer. He did music, and I really like music.”
Audrey Bailey, a fourth-grader at Roosevelt, built a nutcracker out of wood with her grandpa.
“We were talking about school one night,” Bailey said. “The next day, we went and found wood scraps and glued them together and painted it.”
Tiffany Pacey, a fourth-grade teacher at Eisenhower, said she’s enjoyed watching her students build talent-based projects.
“Kids learn differently and have different talents,” Pacey said. “When they get to show their talent, they get to show their creativity. They put their heart into it.”
Zeisler said it was fun to collaborate with teachers at another school.
“It was neat to do something different,” Zeisler said. “We really went deep with ‘The Nutcracker.’”

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