‘Twas the week before finals and students from the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Carter and Moyers School of Education donned their gay apparel, trimmed trees and decked the halls of the Business Education building on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, preparing a Festival of Trees for over 100 shining faces from kindergarten classes from Ellen Myers Elementary School, Middlesboro Elementary School and the Tri-State Christian Academy.
Dr. Chessica Cave, assistant professor of education, developed the event as part of the final exam for four advanced level teacher education classes. Teacher candidates from her classes were divided into groups. Each group chose a children’s Christmas book and were tasked with creating a lesson or activity based on the book. Each group was also tasked with decorating a room and tree to correspond with the book.
Cave and her students welcomed the kindergartners to LMU during two sessions on Dec. 1. The visiting students rotated through rooms and heard stories like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas. The kindergartners made Grinch masks, colored splendiferous trees, donned red noses and made thumb print ornaments before gathering for Christmas cookies and a mini concert as the LMU teaching candidates sang festive holiday tunes.
The LMU students will conduct team evaluations where each member will be graded on their teamwork, contribution and supporting material and composition.
“Our students really went above and beyond. None of the planning took place during class time. The students either stayed late or came in early to practice the songs,” Cave said. “They were so dedicated to the event that they were all here late decorating and the kids’ reactions made it all worthwhile. When you hear ‘This has been the best day ever’ it really brings a smile to your face.”
The program was capped with a visit from Santa Claus and LMU’s mascot, Abe. The teaching candidates and LMU faculty chipped in to make sure Santa had a gift for each of the kids. Cave plans to make this an annual event.