Loy Norrix Peace Jam Members and Edison 4th Graders Enjoy a Zoo Trip

Racheal Koole

Students from Edison Elementary visit animals that they have read about with their Peace Jam reading partner

By Racheal Koole

Children yelling and screaming while having fun is one of the great sounds that Loy Norrix’s Peace Jam members were able to hear recently. On June 6, 2011 Edison Elementary 4th graders and Peace Jam members went to Binder Park Zoo to finish the Literacy Project with a bang.

The Peace Jammers and the 4th graders participated in the Literacy Project that occurred between Edison Elementary and Loy Norrix High School. During the project a high school student paired with one or two 4th graders and worked on their reading skills during the meeting time. Junior Quentin Bryant has participated in the Literacy Project before and knows what the project is all about.

“[The Literacy Project is] A good chance to talk to the kids and prepare them . . . to become stronger readers,” said Bryant.

One of the 4th grade teachers, Shannon Putnam, enjoyed watching the kids have a great time.

“Peace Jam is a wonderful experience for our students. You can really see them light up when their reading buddies enter the room. They love the positive role models and one-on-one attention,” said Putnam.

Loy Norrix Peace Jam held a book fair for the Edison Elementary the last meeting before the zoo trip. For months the high school students collected books from community members for all elementary school ages. Each 4th grader was allowed to take six books and take them home to read.

The week of June 6 the project was over and the last meeting took place at Binder Park Zoo. This is the fourth year that the zoo trip happened and it has become a tradition for everyone. The 4th graders traveled to Loy Norrix to join up with their book buddies and everyone rode the buses to the zoo.

When the group arrived at Binder Park Zoo, the 4th graders and their LN book buddies fed the giraffes with lettuce. The kids were able to get two pieces of lettuce and the giraffes ate it up quickly. Fourth grader Damion Bates enjoyed the trip and all the activities.

“I liked when our Peace Jam Buddies took us to the Binder Park Zoo. We even got to feed the giraffes,” said Bates.

Then everyone disbanded and roamed around with their book buddy. People got to see their favorite animals and animals that they had read about for the past few weeks.

Towards the middle of the day everyone ate lunch together and also rode the carousal. When everything on the schedule was completed, the 4th graders and their buddy had just enough time to visit any other animals they wanted to see.

Peace Jam advisor Sveri May has learned where to change the schedule so there is enough time for all activities.

“It’s as awesome as it’s ever been . . . In four years times you know where to cut corners . . . for kids to spend time with animals they’ve read about, which is the whole reason we go,” said May.

Many of the 4th graders had a fun time with all the activities, and, as 4th grader Ja’Quari Hughes said, “I liked that we went to the zoo and got to see all the animals. They even let us get ice cream.”