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Carol Perkins: Educational Advance - Cape Day Fridays

An idea to totally revolutionize Education: Every Friday would be Cape Day. A brilliant idea which occurred to Carol Perkins after receiving a screenprinting order for Capes from a former pupil, Robin McMurtrey, now a teacher at North Jackson Elementary School in Glasgow, KY
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: It is not about tipping - but common decency . Posted October 20, 2013

By Carol Perkins

The idea began with a phone call and a cape.

"Ms. Perkins, can you get me some capes?" asked Robin McMurtrey, NJE teacher and my former student, knowing I would not be surprised she wanted capes for yet another of her many creative endeavors with her fortunate students.

"What kind of capes?"

She needed Superhero capes

"You know. Superhero capes. Plus, can you take the superman logo and put NJE inside it? Then screenprint that logo on the back of the capes?" (I own Carol's Main Street Screenprinting in Edmonton.)

"I'm sure I can, but let me first find the capes. By the way, you do know your mom can make these capes if you need them fast." Carol June McMurtrey can make anything and with her now grown six girls once involved in every activity in elementary school and then in high school, she could host Project Runway.

Knowing how children (and adults) find something magical in a cape, Robin had the brilliant idea of having cape days with her students. These would be days when they might feel so super special about a project or a lesson that they would simply whip out their capes and celebrate. That was the original plan. Of course, it expanded.

"Robin, not only did I find satin capes, I found matching foam masks! They come in many colors and two different lengths."

"Wow, each kid can pick his own color! I bet the faculty would all wear one for the back-to-school bash!" The wheels were turning.

Capes were ordered for the faculty bash

I ordered capes for the faculty for the bash and printed the logo on the back, and then Robin and I began a dialog about what else could be done with this idea.

Here goes:
  1. If every child at NJE had his/her own cape, that cape could follow the child until he/she left NJE. The parents would purchase only one cape for the years at NJE. Every teacher would have her own cape, too.

  2. Each week the entire student body would focus on a superhero for the week. The person might be someone like Ben Franklin who established the first public library, invented the first printing press, founded the second newspaper in America, plus a host of famous inventions.

  3. Each day the same "facts" would be presented to the students at the same time (maybe the first thing each day) and the kids would keep a superhero journal and record these facts/information. Teachers could go beyond the facts if they wanted.

  4. At the end of the week, students would have a journal page filled with information about Ben Franklin. Think what this journal would hold by the end of the year!

  5. Friday would be cape day to celebrate the person of the week.
There are many ways to celebrate on Friday for Cape Day! Ask the local librarian to speak to the students about the public library. Ask the editor of the Times to tell about how the paper is published. This project could incorporate math, science, health, social studies, English, spelling, and reading!

"Robin, think of all the superheroes. Firemen, soldiers, police officers, EMT, civic leaders, plus all the heroes we have studied in history from Jonas Salk to Daniel Boone. You would never run out of material." I could visualize how much students would learn in a different way of learning it.

What's in a cape? I really don't know, but what I do know is that every child I have ever known pinned a towel around his/her neck and pretended to be a superhero. My son jumped off the arms of chairs, the back of my couch, and off the ledge of the patio with the stance of Zorro.

I know that Robin is moving ahead with this project and parents at NJE have, by now, received their order blank for their child to pick his/her own color of cape and mask. I think the deadline is Oct. 29. Wouldn't it be wonderful if other schools would follow this Superhero project? I'm ordering a cape for myself! Would you like one, too? - CAROL PERKINS

This story was posted on 2013-10-27 01:03:06
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