BROOKSVILLE — The atmosphere at Brooksville Elementary School — popcorn, cotton candy and pickles — had the air of a festival. Music played as children visited various booths, munched snacks, had their faces painted and played games.
The annual Global Celebration was a chance for students to relax after the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and display work they had done studying countries around the world.
"This is a global elementary," said global writing teacher Kathy Gates.
Brooksville Elementary emphasizes teaching about the world's countries and cultures. Gates enhances social studies and writing for third- and fourth-graders.
An underlying but significant part of the celebration was the fundraising that was going on all afternoon. For each game, activity and treat, children paid 25 cents, which was the school's contribution to Relay for Life, the annual American Cancer Society event.
Third-grade teacher Terri Adams, reading teacher Anna Jensen, and second-grade teachers Mandy Justice and Love Zajac are co-captains of the school relay team.
The children seemed to be aware of where their money was going. Second-grader Colin Pagels, 7, said he was giving "quarters for cancer." He explained that the quarters will go to people who don't have any money.
Because this was a school event, it had an educational twist. Grade levels had produced displays of the countries each had studied. The children wore pretend passports around their necks, which got stamped each time they visited one of the global displays. The younger children just had to take a look at each exhibit. The older children had to answer questions to get their passports stamped.
Kindergarteners had studied Australia and showed their colored pictures of emus, platypuses and kangaroos. Along with the maps and boomerangs, their display showed language differences between Americans and Australians.
"We say" and "They say" columns compared the American barbecue to the Australian "barbie," countryside to "bush," friend to "mate," diaper to "nappie" and cotton candy to "fairy floss."
First-graders studied Africa and showed masks they had colored. Second-graders learned about Brazil and offered crackers with guava paste to their visitors.
The third-grade display was about Ireland. It glittered with green and had a map, posters, flags and questions about the country. Fourth-graders gave out construction paper fortune cookies and illustrated China with pictures and included a menu of Chinese food.
Second-grader Lacey Garman, 8, said she liked the China display.
"She likes their food," said Lacey's mother, Beth.
Fifth-graders illustrated the United States. They used a map of the country, historical facts and gave out paper flags for children to color.
Nonacademic activities included a ring toss to win 2-liter sodas, tables for stringing Native American necklaces and stapling together African collars, a bean bag toss, a duck pond, a Brooksville Elementary-style Olympics, and temporary tattoos.
Students could also plant seeds of such exotic-sounding plants as japonica striped maize (Japan) and Oaxacan green corn (Mexico). The students punched a seed into a small container of soil, got a lid and headed into spring break with a little souvenir from the world.