The Times West Virginian

March 14, 2014

Blackshere students use their imaginations in building traps

By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian

MANNINGTON — There’s a leprechaun on the loose at Blackshere Elementary School, and this isn’t the first year he’s gotten into the building.

He leaves green footprints in the hallways, steals students’ homework and even turns the water in the sinks green.

“He’s made a mess in the school. ... Last year our custodian caught him and took him outside and turned him loose. We know he’s going to be back again this year, so the kids have all made traps to help catch him,” said first-grade teacher Theresa Michael.

The entire first grade turned in leprechaun traps Wednesday, and they are on display in the hallway.

The project was meant to be a family activity, and parents were encouraged to help build the traps to promote family time at home.

“They were very excited, and they were thrilled to do it. It’s all they’ve talked about since we said we were going to do it for a week,” Michael said. “They’ve been talking about how they were going to do it and what was going to happen to the leprechaun.”

Teachers encouraged their students to be creative and use their imaginations when making the traps, which came in all shapes and sizes.

Materials included boxes, plastic containers, cages, green hats, glitter, gold coins and even Lucky Charms.

Leprechauns always do the opposite of what they’re told, Michael explained, so it was important that students put signs or something telling the pesky visitor to do the opposite of what they wanted him to do.

There were many “keep-out” signs and notes indicating that there was no gold inside the traps.

“It is a really good imaginative thing because kids don’t get asked to use their imaginations anymore,” said teacher Catherine Shutler. “I think they did a nice job with it.”

When students brought in their traps, they shared with the class how they worked and what they used to build them.

“There’s a mallet, and there’s fake gold taped to the mallet,” said first-grader Michael Cooper while explaining his trap. “When he unties the string to get the gold, a box will come flying down on him.”

Cooper believes his trap will be the one to catch the leprechaun, and he knows exactly what he will do if he finds him.

“Take him home in my book bag,” he said.

William Robinson plans to lure the leprechaun to his trap with gold, and he used glitter and straws to decorate it.

He said his mother helped him.

“She helped when we cut the straws, and she helped me with some glitter glue,” he said. “The colors I put on it were green and gold.”

Teachers hope the leprechaun will fall into a hole, be trapped by a cup or just be put out by the custodian again — and soon, before he causes any more trouble at Blackshere.

“The leprechauns are really pesky this time of year,” Shutler said.

Email Chelsi Baker at or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.