South Side Elementary students decorate Christmas story trees

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the halls, South Side Elementary decorated trees with ornament balls.

But the magic lies in the story of the trees.

Each class read and learned about a different Christmas book and was challenged to create a tree based on the story.

“We wanted every kid to be involved in a special Christmas project, and because we are a third-grade school really pushing literacy we wanted it to be kind of like the storyboards or a book report,” said Casey Glusenkamp, South Side Elementary Principal.

Not only did this project allow the kids to tell Christmas stories but it allowed them to get hands-on experience while spreading that Christmas spirit.

The school decorated 12 trees. One class opted for a Christmas classic like the Grinch while another class chose to do a newer Christmas story called Mooseltoe.

4th-grade gifted teacher Anna Coker said that the trees had to follow specific guidelines.

Her class chose The Elf on the Shelf.

“The trees had to tell the story of the book and that was the most important thing. The kids had to be able to create their own ornaments and share the story and then the tree told the story,” said Coker.

These displays of the holiday spirit came with the help of some local elves.

Most of the trees and supplies were donated by the community.

Glusenkamp said this wouldn’t have been possible without the team of teachers she has.

“South Side is definitely a special place. Teaching is already the hardest job in the world, so when you ask them to do something extra, finding a tree. The teachers kind of bring in the magic and they just made it very special for the kids that may not have a tree of their own at home, but as they are here at school they have their own tree they helped to create and enjoy,” said Glusenkamp.

And while this may be the first year telling the story behind the tree, they don’t plan on it being their last.

“It’s definitely going to be a tradition because not only was it fun for each class but we have 300 students and when you put all of these trees together in the foyer it is so special for every class to get to look at,” said Glusenkamp.

The trees will be judged on Tuesday.

And Glusenkamp said she is planning a day to show off the student’s hard work to the community before the students head out for Christmas break.

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