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Parent Expo a chance to get involved

Visitors to Hernando Elementary School last week were greeted with a big cow-themed display _ including a cow candy dish full of lollipops _ put together by second-grade teachers. The exhibit was one of many that were featured in the school's second annual Parent Expo.

Down the hall from second grade's Mo-o-o-oving Into Writing display were displays from first-grade teachers and "specials" teachers.

First grade handed out file folder games for parents to help their children with math skills, to provide reading strategies and to promote a positive habit of reading at home.

"Specials" are the classes children take outside their regular classrooms: physical education, art, music, technology and media center. The specials teachers had a slide show for visitors.

One focus was to show parents a simplified way to evaluate their children's writing efforts.

Parents and teachers can use rubrics, a graphlike system that breaks writings down into four categories:

Focus: Does the child stay on topic?

Organization: Does the story have a clear beginning, middle and end?

Support: Are there details and complete sentences?

Conventions: Are the children using capital letters, proper punctuation and spelling?

Other grade levels were represented in the cafeteria, where the school was offering pizza with juice for children and soft drinks for adults. Here also were exhibits from the school and community, including the PTA, the Hospice, the Sheriff's Office, the county library system, the school yearbook and the Citrus County Heritage Museum.

Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts had information available for families. Parents learned about Reading is Fundamental, a federally sponsored reading program that provides free books to children throughout the school year. The PTA cosponsors Reading Is Fundamental.

The School Advisory Enhancement Council advertised "A Taste of Everyday Math," an introduction to the county's new math series scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m. tonight at the school.

The council also provided brochures for the Adopt-a-Class Program, in which local businesses or individuals adopt a class or area of special need with a donation of $100 or more that will go directly to that class or area.

A list of benefits to classrooms and specials areas was published in the brochure, including books for the prekindergarten classroom, computer programs for kindergarten, laminating machine materials for first grade, a reading and math activities kit for second grade, GeoSafari and Quizmo CD for the third-grade computers, beanbag chairs for the fourth-grade reading center, math CDs for fifth grade and a camera for the computer lab.

The evening was summed up by principal Carol Mainor, who said, "We are a community of learners and we wanted to have an activity where parents, community members, staff and children could come together and celebrate our community."

Up next:NEWSMAKERS

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