Seahawks’ run used as a teaching tool

Math, grammar, social skills all take blue-and-green hue

lpemberton@theolympian.comJanuary 31, 2014 

Thurston County educators have found several ways to incorporate the Seahawks, the Super Bowl and the spirit of the 12th Man into classrooms.

“We are using the Seahawks — and football in general — to teach empathy, sportsmanship, compassion and opinion-taking,” said Shannon Keller, a special-education teacher at Washington Middle School in Olympia. “Most of us are Seahawks fans. But we do have a few students and staff who are very loyal to other teams, which perfectly opens the door for these discussions.”

At Seven Oaks Elementary School in Lacey, first-grade teacher Amanda Marshall’s class created construction-paper football players and wrote their predictions of the big game, too. The project was part writing, part art and part current events.

However, since many of the kids are excited about the Super Bowl, it also was about having a little fun.

“A lot of it has to deal with capturing this moment, that they might not experience it in a while,” Marshall said. “I had a few kids who wrote that the Broncos are going to win.”

Some other examples:

 • Students at Rochester Primary School participated in a Seahawks-themed food drive this week. The classroom that collected the most food was promised a Skittles-and-popcorn party.

“The response of our families has been overwhelming,” said interim principal Amy Roney. “The first-grade teachers thought they would transport the donated items with their SUVs and pickup trucks, but we have a different plan now. The first two days’ donations totaled 1,833 items. Our bus service, First Student, is providing a bus and driver to transport the food.”

Meantime, at Rochester High School, Seahawks players’ names were part of a series of positive messages played on the school’s jumbo screen in the Commons throughout the week.

For example, Monday was “Marshawn Monday.”

“The theme being: Give it a Beast Mode effort in class,” said assistant principal Marty Reid, who gave out small amounts of Skittles during the day for student effort.

 • At Lincoln Elementary School in Olympia, teacher Cara MacMillan had students graph the win-loss record for the four teams in the NFC West.

“This year I also had my kids correct spelling and grammar errors in tweets from Seahawks players,” MacMillan said.

And on Monday, she said she’ll ask students to solve math problems that are related to the outcome of the Super Bowl.

 • At Tenino Elementary School, librarian Lori Morales ended up sporting a green and blue hairstyle for a day.

A few weeks ago, one of the school’s fifth-graders told her she should dye her hair in Seahawks colors before their NFC Championship game against the 49ers.

“I said, ‘I tell you what, if they make it to the Super Bowl, you can do it for me,’” Morales said. “That’s what happens. I made a deal with a fifth-grader and they never forget.”

She kept her side of the deal, and the student had the honor of using colored hairspray to create a new look.

And before the school day was up, a teacher and the school’s principal had Seahawks colored hair too, Morales said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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