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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Fifth graders move into the kitchen 2011.12.21

Written by David Green.


Sew a button. Make a grilled cheese sandwich. Memorize a poem. Do the laundry.

Those aren’t topics ordinarily covered in the fifth grade classroom, but Melissa Elliott’s “Life Long Learning” class is anything but ordinary. 

When students complete the one-trimester class, they will have learned some new skills that 

thumb into oven

aren’t generally taught in school.

By moving from the lower grades to a fifth grade classroom this year, Mrs. Elliott took on the duty of teaching something outside of the core studies for one trimester.

She didn’t see art or music as something she would excel in, but she did recall a life-long learning class that she taught several years ago at an Adrian school.

She remembered that it required a lot of work on the teacher’s part, but she also remembered that it was a lot of fun.

She presented the idea to principal Kelli Campbell who gave it her backing and planning got underway.

Mrs. Elliott had her own ideas for projects, but she’s getting suggestions from others, too. Another teacher, for example, suggested teaching everyone to tie a necktie. Mrs. Elliott’s mother wants to come to class and teach some basic dinner table etiquette such as setting the table and learning how to use a fork and knife.

“I love how other people are getting excited about the class,” she said.

That includes a set of parent volunteers who help out with certain projects—both through time in the classroom and with the donation of materials.

The projects lead to interaction between the adults and the kids, Mrs. Elliott said, and she thinks the class is great for the parent helpers, too.

Last week students divided into groups and worked with parent volunteers to make a batch of Chex mix and create corn flake holiday wreaths. They finished the session by cooking and eating oatmeal to complete the “Three Things with Cereal” project.washing dishes

The middle school has a room with stoves, sinks and counter space that hasn’t been used much since Jennifer Griffith retired.

“The kitchen lab is amazing,” Mrs. Elliott said. “I like all the learning that’s involved.”

Even for something as simple as the project last week, there are directions to read, verbal instructions to hear, certain steps to follow.

“I’m amazed at all the little things that we need to know,” she said. 

From another project, Mrs. Elliott learned that many fifth grade students have never before cracked an egg.

“You take so much for granted,” she said.

After the session two weeks ago about cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, several students went home and prepared them for their families—much to the delight of their teacher.

Parents will be involved in other ways, too. The laundry project—sort, wash and dry clothes—will be graded by a parent.

Michigan is one of many states pursuing Common Core Standards to make learning expectations consistent across the country.

“Many of the standards link to this class in many subtle ways,” Mrs. Elliott said.

She’s also attempting to find projects that mesh with the Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets for children, to help them grow up “healthy, caring and responsible.”

One of the 40 addresses the importance of adult relationships for children, other than their parents. The culminating project—the Dabble Fair—requires students to work with another adult (see details below).

From what Mrs. Elliott has seen and heard, the class is a hit with the kids. 

“It’s really neat to hear them talking about it,” she said. “They’re enthusiastic.”

That goes for their teacher, as well.

“I like to teach things I can get excited about,” she said.

She’s found a new opportunity for that during the third hour period every day at school.


Dabble Fair

The Life long Learning class ends Feb. 29 with Dabble Fair—a celebration of learning something about a topic of interest.

To dabble in something is to take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way. 

Mrs. Elliott’s dabblers will study a topic with an adult and then follow up with a how-to guide.

“I’d like it to be something they’ve always had an interest in,” she said.

The reports might show the product via a photo essay or in some cases a finished product will be shown.

In the final classroom project, students will prepare desserts for Dabble Fair. The show will be open to the public from 3 to 6 p.m.

One student heard about the upcoming class last trimester and dove into her dabbling before the class even started.

She learned how to sew from her grandmother.

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