The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Mayan Pot project 2009.03.11

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Not all of the young archeologists succeeded in their quest to interpret stories recorded on shards of broken pottery.

In one case, drawings of wolves were seen as turtles. A camping trip evolved into the classic race between the tortoise and the hare.mayan.starting_pots.jpg

That was all right with Morenci Middle School teacher Doug Rupp. It’s a writing class that he’s teaching; not a study of ancient cultures.

Mr. Rupp got the idea from a colleague at Clinton’s middle school and reworked it for his sixth grade classes.

“The Mayans [of Mexico and Central America] were great story tellers,” Mr. Rupp said in the introduction to the assignment.

The project began with a fictional narrative. Each student wrote a story that included dialogue and incorporated elements of creativity such as foreshadowing, flashbacks, similes and metaphor. Students were urged to keep the main idea of their tale to themselves.

This was followed by a trip to the school computer lab to view samples of Mayan art on websites.

Next, each student received a Mayan pot—a terra cotta flowerpot that would soon be transformed into a centuries old piece of decorated pottery.

With paints and brushes, each student retold their story by drawing it onto the pot—no words allowed.

When complete, each pot was placed in a grocery sack and stapled closed. Then came a step that was a little difficult for many students. Holding the sack high, they dropped it onto the sidewalk in front of the school.

After all that work, there was some hesitation to break it into pieces, Mr. Rupp said.

He had a different form of anxiety. He never tried out this step of the project ahead of time and he wasn’t sure what was going to happen. mayan.it_broke.jpg

Three students lined up, lifted their sacks and let go. Mr. Rupp scurried over to check the damage. It was perfect. Complete destruction. There were only a few cases where he had to give an extra crushing blow.

Bags were traded and reconstruction got underway. Piece by piece, each pot was glued back together so the painted story could be read.

“I didn’t know how the gluing was going to go,” Mr. Rupp said. “Some were really difficult to reassemble.”

There were three or four kids in each class who couldn’t get the pot back together—much better than the 50/50 split Mr. Rupp feared might happen.

At this point the project was about three-fourths complete. Now the archeologists became writing students once again. The pots were reconstructed; now came the reconstruction of the story.

By looking at the painted drawings, students had to put the tale back into words, trying to interpret what they saw into another fictional narrative.

“The challenge was to be more elaborate than what was on the pots,” Mr. Rupp said. “Some kids gave a lot of detail and ended up with a longer story than the original.”

The final segment of the assignment was a comparison between the original story and the reconstructed tale.

Many stories matched up fairly well. Others—like the wolves that became turtles—provided a good laugh.

“The kids were rolling,” Mr. Rupp said. “We had a good time with that one.”

In Mr. Rupp’s opinion, the Mayan Pot Project was a complete success. He sees the assignment as a lot of fun, but also as a meaningful way to approach writing.

Attention, fifth grade students: You will experience this project next year when you move into Mr. Rupp’s English class. This one is a keeper.

• The Mayan Pot project was funded by a grant from the Morenci Education Foundation.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016