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How Fairview Elementary observed the eclipse
Fairview Elementary School's students participated in the "reading eclipse contest” throughout the morning. After reading a book, each student placed a sticker on a sun in the hallway, trying to help cover it completely so his or her first-grade level could be the first to "eclipse" their sun. (Submitted | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. - Fairview Elementary School celebrated the solar eclipse with a variety of activities throughout the school day on Monday, Aug. 21. From start to finish, the day was one of the most exciting ones we have had.

It began with a “reading eclipse contest.”  After a student read a book or read independently for 10 minutes, the child was given a sticker to represent the moon.  Stickers were placed on the sun in the hallway, and grade-level teams worked together to see which grade-level would be the first to completely cover their sun, causing the “reading eclipse!”  Our fifth-gradeteam won with our kindergarten team in second place!

Numerous guest readers came to Fairview as well.  Partners in education, public safety workers, district-level guests, families of staff members, and even the Clements Middle School Ambassadors were at Fairview to read-aloud “The Eclipse: a Guatemalan folktale” by Nicholas Beatty.  After each classroom visit, the guest reader gave a copy of the book to the class to be added to their classroom library.

Throughout the day, there were other eclipse-themed activities.  Some students cooked hot dogs using a solar oven and others made sun tea.  Fifth-grade science students conducted an experiment using a magnifying glass to melt chocolate. The intensity of the sun’s rays caused burn spots on the chocolate candies, which represented the damage to our eyes when protective eyewear is not used.  Some students participated in “moon math activities” in which a variety of mathematics skills were practiced using statistics about the moon.  Language arts students used “The Eclipse” book to learn about mentor sentences.

At 1:00 p.m., the hallway lights were turned off and students were invited to read in the darkened hallways by the light of a flashlight!  The excitement filled the halls. Students demonstrated appropriate behavior by being orderly and sharing their enthusiasm for the opportunity.  Assistant Principal Yoli Curry and I joined in too!

As the solar eclipse approached, some classes made pin-hole viewers and experienced the view outside.  Staff members provided safety eclipse glasses and individually supervised students as they looked up to the sky to briefly observe the amazing eclipse.  Vantage Point Photography was present to capture the excitement using their drone and other equipment.

We’ve been planning this day for several weeks and all of our efforts paid off. The day before the eclipse, a friend told me “Tomorrow will be a great day to be a teacher,” and it really was a great day!  The children and the staff members were filled with enthusiasm and great spirit. I appreciated the cooperation of everyone in the building.  I hope these children remember today with the same great memories that I still have from when I saw an eclipse as a child.