Students involved in shady deal

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Thanks to retired school librarian Barb Wilcox, first grade students at West Liberty Elementary witnessed the planting of new life, despite the cold.

Around 20 students from Mrs. Polman’s first grade class helped plant a fledgling Red Oak Tree Friday, Nov. 17, in the playground south of the school.

“It’s important for kids to see,” said Mrs. Wilcox. She worked as a librarian with WLCSD from 1989 to 2012. Now she helps teach science to students.

“They can talk to their parents about it and say what happened,” she said. “Hopefully some of the parents will think that it’s a good idea and maybe they should plant a tree.”

The students in Mrs. Polman’s class just wrapped up a whole science unit on life cycles that included trees. What better way to conclude than the plant an actual tree?

Mrs. Wilcox, who donates her time in the classroom, went out and purchased a Red Oak and gave it to the school for planting.

“We’re in need of trees, we don’t have a lot of trees here,” said Mrs. Polman. “Hopefully it will produce a lot of branches and we’ll have a lot of shade in five years.”

The students have a big playground at West Liberty Elementary School, but Mrs. Polman is right. It’s a lot of green space with only a few trees for shade.

On Friday the first grade class put on their coats, lined up and marched outside with Mrs. Wilcox in order to do something about that.

One at a time the first graders grabbed handfuls of dirt and dumped them into the hole. When the time was right Mrs. Polman planted the tree. The students gasped.

“They love nature,” Mrs. Polman said of her students. “Earlier this year we grew a lawn in the classroom in Dixie cups. They were able to mow it with their scissors.”

“So they’ve learned what plants needs to survive, we’ve been learning about life cycles,” she added.

When Mrs. Wilcox comes to Mrs. Polman’s class she teaches science and social studies using reading, writing and speaking lessons.

The students absolutely love it when Mrs. Wilcox drops by, everybody loves it. “I enjoy it, it’s a good thing to do to help kids learn,” says Mrs. Wilcox.

After the tree was inserted into the ground the students, once again, took turns burying it in dirt. Every once-and-awhile they’d come across a worm.

That was accompanied by half the class shouting in excitement while the other screamed in terror. Every kid is unique after all.

In the end the tree was planted and the children ran off to recess.

To think, when this red oak reaches its peak many of these kids will be long gone from West Liberty. But for now they’re perfectly happy.

“This year each of the students made a book about what they learned about trees,” said Mrs. Wilcox. “They loved it.”
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