Knock your socks off – Lawndale students make resolutions, puppets

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A group of Lawndale Elementary School third-grade students wants to knock your socks off in the new year.
About 40 challenge students in Joannah Ballard’s five classes made sock puppets last week inspired by their resolutions for 2013. Their ideas varied – some wanted to became a famous athlete or a straight-A student or to start a business – but all of them had to have a wow factor.
Kara Roberts, 8, wanted to practice so she could become a famous tennis player.
“Since I was five years old, I’ve always dreamed of it, and I watched people on TV playing tennis,” she said.
Attached to her puppet was a purple tennis racket made out of pipe cleaners with a fuzzy ball glued to it, “to make it look like she hit it,” Kara said.
The exercise began with a writing assignment prompted by the question, “in 2013, I am going to knock your socks off by…” In a paragraph, students had to describe what they would do, how they would do it and what would happen after they did it.
Next, they decorated the puppet, using materials like cotton-ball noses, red-felt mouths, fabric strip clothing and yarn hair.
“We talked about resolutions and ways we could better our families, schools or communities,” Ballard said. “We talked about their goals and interests.”
Ellora Dey, 9, made a resolution to have a dog-walking business so she could meet more people in her neighborhood. She made a leash out of pipe cleaners for her dog puppet.
“I like dogs,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ali Vallarian, 8, resolved to throw an awesome party with a friend.
“The last time I tried, I failed,” she said. “It was a windy day and everything blew away. We will try on a sunny day and will make more decorations.”
Her puppet had a fabric jacket with sequence and had a ribbon twirler.
“It is cool because it is fun, and my favorite subject is art,” she said of the project.
Patrick Helms, 9, wants to become a better football player by catching and running better. He plans to do drills with his cousin and his brother.
His twin, Reece Helms, 9, resolved to read better. This semester, he said, the goal of the number of books he has to read to have an accelerated reader party was doubled. At such a party, he said, “you get to do fun things, like make cookies.”
Patrick’s puppet had a Styrofoam ball cut in half that served as a helmet. Reece’s held a construction paper book and wore pipe cleaner reading glasses.
Nicol Milev, 9, decorated a sock with tennis shoes to represent her goal of running two miles each month.
“It would be good for my body,” she said.
Ballard said the class will likely have a puppet show with their new creations. At the end of the semester, students will review their resolutions to see if they’ve achieved them or made strides.
“I hope they learn the importance of having a goal and sticking to it,” Ballard said.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com