News St. Joseph — 22 May 2014
ASA Spring Showcase offers glimpse of school projects

by Cori Hilsgen

All Saints Academy hosted a Spring Showcase on May 15 to give parents and other visitors a chance to see how students have been spending their time at school.

Parents and others could visit and tour various projects which included a Festival of Nations, Google Drive presentations of Minnesota, state projects, planet presentations, writing projects and planting of garden containers.

Montessori preschoolers in Cheri Burg’s classroom had their second annual Preschool Picassos gallery exhibit at the Satellite Gallery in the Millstream Shops on Minnesota Street. Students displayed artwork that reflected famous artists the students studied throughout the year.

First-grade-teacher Joanne Schneider said students displayed a fictional writing project they had worked on. Each student drew the characters and planned their setting and plots, wrote a rough draft, revised and proofread, typed the story and added illustrations and a cover.

“It was a great project for the end of first grade,” Schneider said.

Third-grade teacher Robin Kremer said students created planet presentations using Google Drive’s presentation. Students also compared their planet to Earth and wrote paragraphs about the comparisons.

“The planet’s moons, rings and movement were popular topics,” Kremer said. “They enhanced their presentations by embedding video and adding pictures.”

Fourth-grade teacher Theresa Fleege said students created a pizza box project with a study of Minnesota states. Each student selected a Mid-western or Southern state and researched its landform, a famous person, two tourist sites and a natural resource. They created brochures with all of these topics.

“The pizza box had the state in homemade dough on the bottom,” Fleege said. “It included major cities, rivers and surrounding states. On the inside cover the students added fun facts.”

Sixth-grade teacher Susan Huls said 12 students participated in the Festival of Nations.

“We have a lot that chose European countries,” Huls said. “They all picked ones they had strong connections to. They did a good job.”

The students used Google Drive applications on school iPads to give their presentations. The iPads are kept at school, and students worked on them during class time.

At the Festival of Nations, sixth-grade student Kian Sia Su gave his presentation on Fiji.

He said when he was in first grade he got a stress ball and named it Fiji. Then when he was in second grade he learned it was actually a country. So, he thought why not do a report on Fiji?

“It’s interesting learning about the language,” Sia Su said. “It is quite different, but cool.”

He said they speak English, but also speak Fijian and Hindi languages. Sia Su offered Fiji pudding or Purini for sampling. It is brownish in color and looks a lot like bread.

“I really hope to go there someday,” Sia Sue said. “I like the architecture and cool buildings and would like to visit a beach and possibly go to Bua. It’s actually more interesting than I would have thought at the beginning of the project.”

Sixth-grade student Rachael Terhaar gave her presentation on England.

Terhaar said England is famous for soccer and she loves playing soccer, so that’s why she decided to study England.

“I’ve always really wanted to go there,” Terhaar said.

She said she found studying Guy Fawkes Day and how the English celebrate the failed attempt on the Parliament very interesting. Fawkes is a man who broke his neck jumping from the scaffolding where he was to be executed after being tried and convicted of plotting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605.

Terhaar offered samples of Toad-in-the-Hole for sampling. It is made of sausage, eggs, flour and milk. She made her samples in bite-sized cupcake holders.

“It is one of their most popular foods and is usually eaten at meals,” Terhaar said.

Grandparents Del Brown and Rosie Harren attended the showcase. They had fun examining the quilt the sixth-grade class was making.

“The showcase is great,” Harren said. “Those kids worked hard and their presentation is wonderful.”

“They are so grown up with the way they gave their presentation and made their own food,” Brown said.

Brown and Harren are grandparents of the same four Harren grandchildren who attend ASA. The four grandchildren are six-grader Lance; fourth-grader Sam; and twin kindergartners Kolton and Kenzie Harren.

Second-grade teacher Betty Pundsack was busy behind the school with students, planting produce as part of a STEM science project. They were planting oregano and were also planning to later plant cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, muskmelon and cucumbers.

“It’s about better eating, life-long learning, getting exercise outdoors and using resources wisely,” Pundsack said.

The Sauk River Watershed District donated a rain barrel students use to water the plants, and the school uses a compost bin to recycle lunches. The compost is used for the garden containers. The containers are located on the St. Benedict’s Monastery property, whose nuns are able to occasionally help themselves to a fresh tomato or other produce item.

“The sisters are good neighbors,” Pundsack said. “They are very kind to share this space with us.”

Pundsack said the school relies on ASA families to do the work during the summer months. They water and weed the plants each week and the gardens are harvested in the fall.

ASA students were not able to do the planters last year because of the construction of Heritage Hall, and Pundsack said many families said they missed working on them throughout the summer.

Pundsack starts many of the plants in her and her husband’s greenhouse. Much of the produce grown supplements the school’s food program. Parents often request some of the recipes, especially the one for salsa.

Fourth-grade student Emma Kremer was helping with the planters. She said she especially likes to pick the green beans.

“It’s a good idea,” Kremer said.

Fourth-grader Claire Sia Su enjoys picking the tomatoes.

“I like doing it,” Sia Su said.

photo by Cori Hilsgen
Second-grade teacher Betty Pundsack and students work on garden containers during the ASA Spring Showcase. Pictured (clockwise from lower left) are fourth-grader Mary Morris; Betty Pundsack; second-grader Gabriella Morris; and fourth-graders Alaina Botz, Emma Kremer and Claire Sia Su.

photo by Cori Hilsgen
Grandparents Rosie Harren (front) and Del Brown admire the quilt that sixth-graders are working on during the ASA Spring Showcase. Harren and Brown are grandparents of the same four children who attend the school.

photo by Cori Hilsgen
Sixth-grader Kian Sia Su gives his presentation on Fiji at the ASA Festival of Nations.

photo by Cori Hilsgen
Sixth-grader Rachael Terhaar gives her presentation on England at the ASA Festival of Nations.

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About Author

Cori Hilsgen
Cori Hilsgen Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.

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