Thursday, July 22, 2010

An 'Island' farewell for Oak Lawn

Cranston Herald
July 22, 2010
All text and photos by Jen Cowart

ISLAND SPIRIT: Anthony Heng, Sam Franco, Arianna Boscia, Matt Lonardo and Ryan Marsella played Jamaican music for the other students who visited the Island Bazaar.

The students in Patricia Ruggieri and Rosemary Reardon’s sixth grade classes bid farewell to the school year and hello to summer by hosting an Island Bazaar during the last week of school.

The idea came about when the staff and students realized that there were many unused products from their school store that were never opened during this school year. As they tried to decide what to do with all of the merchandise, the idea for the Island Bazaar began to take shape.

“We had difficulty starting up with the school store, and then we had no place to open, and no good time to have it. We decided to do this instead,” said Reardon.

The students realized that although they had a great deal of merchandise to sell, more was still needed in order to market their bazaar to the entire school. They decided to make things to sell.

Bookmarks, hair accessories, origami flowers and pins made the list and the students began outlining a plan for when they would make their creations.

“We set up a schedule where they would work very hard and focus in the morning and then make their crafts and get ready for their production in the afternoon,” said Reardon. “They were even making origami flowers during their lunch.”

Every grade visited the bazaar to a set schedule. Each visiting class was treated to Jamaican music, games, relays, and even got the chance to learn the musical instruments.

Retiring music teacher Jean Green had been teaching the sixth graders some Jamaican music to go along with the play “The Cat and a Rat,” as part of an end of the year unit of study. They were also learning how to perform using several musical instruments, such as the bass xylophone, in conjunction with the songs for the play.

“We made enough money to give our volunteers all a gift, give a sixth grade gift to our school, and pay off our school store bill,” said Reardon.

What began as a solution to one problem became a huge success in the eyes of the sixth graders and their teachers.

“This has been great. They loved it,” Reardon said.

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