By Nicole Lemal
Times West Virginian
Students at Rivesville Elementary/Middle School watched intently recently as women played dulcimers during a workshop at the school.
It was just one of many workshops offered on the school’s early-release day, a day Principal Mark Stutler wanted to make more interesting for the students.
Early-release days can be filled with distractions for most students, who know they are having a short day. But with new faces and a new curriculum on that day, it could pique the interest of a student. That’s when administrators and teachers decided to transform early-release days into days filled with workshops, where community members could share their experiences and speak about their work.
More than a week ago, a few guest speakers participated in the school’s West Virginia culture workshop.
“We are trying to use these early releases to really do something different for the kids, try a different perspective to make it fun, make it more fun in the classroom and involve our community and leaders to come in and talk to the kids,” social studies teacher Chris Malnick said.
Joy Defazio spoke about West Virginia folklore, Sondra Summers and Betty Banks came in to play frontier music using dulcimers from the 1800s and early 1900s, Malnick prepared a presentation about the Civil War, and Kathy Malnick showed pictures throughout her travels in West Virginia.
“If they know something special is going to happen, they’re going to be more apt to being in school,” Chris Malnick said. “They are going to be more apt to pay attention and be more focused on what’s going on.”