Ribbon cutting celebrates collaborative greenhouse at MISD

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It took a little work with the scissors, but Mineola Middle School students snipped a red ribbon at lunchtime Friday celebrating the completion of a greenhouse that will make the process of learning a little more palatable.

Members of the Mineola School Board and Mineola Education Foundation had gathered for the celebration. They were joined by primary school and middle school students demonstrating some of their experiments.

Superintendent Kim Tunnell said that the greenhouse was an example of one of the projects for which the Education Foundation had awarded $14,997 in teacher grants last year.

“We are celebrating some of the things that are happening in MISD,” she said. She also said such things would not happen without the school board’s support.

Middle School Science Teacher Susan Witt said about 10 years ago she and retired kindergarten teacher Martha Holmes began a collaborative lesson with their students. “We realized after the first time it was a win-win situation and because my students get to be teachers and the younger students get to have an older mentor that’s teaching them good science concepts,” Witt said. She said there have been dreams for several years of getting a greenhouse to do plant experiments.

Witt also said the school had partnered with members of the Fannie Marchman Garden Club since they are plant experts, and folks at the school aren’t. “They’ve already given us several tips of how to do it better next time,” she said. She also credited the school’s maintenance department with putting the structure together “because when it arrived it came in about a million pieces.”

“We’re very grateful to them as well,” Witt said.

Science students Madeline Tucker, Jesse Gilbreath and Andrea Valdez were enthused about working with the primary school students.

“It’s really fun because we’ve been planning all together and we’ve been teaching the little kids, which has been even more fun,” Tucker said. Gilbreath said teaching the younger students forces him and his peers to learn their topic. “It’s very complicated if you don’t know what you’re teaching the young kids,” he said. Valdez said there is a connection between the older and younger students. “I feel like how we explain it is maybe a little simpler. We kind of break it down into our own little words for them, so they understand it better.”

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