By Todd Martin

Special to the Hood Herald

Mixing learning and fun, and throwing in some creative competition, students at Montague Village Elementary School at Fort Hood built some camaraderie.

Students from the youngest to the oldest cycled through a series of contests dealing with reading, math, science, physical education and music to help pull the classes together at the start of the school year.

Called Team Learning Day, assistant principal Ruth Prosser described the morning of activity Friday as a sort of academic field day.

During the traditional field day in the late spring, when students and teachers relax at the completion of TAKS testing and other academic requirements, teachers often ask, 'Why don't we do this earlier in the year?'"

So, for the second year, Montague Village teachers walked their students from station to station as soldier and parent volunteers and the school's interventionist teachers guided the games.

The interventionist teachers see students across the grade levels daily to provide added support in math, reading, science or dyslexia intervention in small groups, Prosser explained.

In one game, students lined up with their classmates in relay formation and took turns running to easels to spell given words. Each student picked out the next letter in the word until it was correctly spelled.

In another game, teachers challenged students to form a specific shape with string. Students scurried about to get in the shape and then worked to form the same shape with their string.

Students also took part in an obstacle course, with groups of four students each running hand-in-hand through, over and under various obstacles.

"Developing cohesiveness," is the way teacher Stephanie Ford explained the value of the games, which required teamwork.

"Early in the year, we get started and jump into studies and don't have time to bond," said PE teacher Laurie Shumard. Today is about team building as a class. They can get to know each other. They have fun, learn and work together as a team and bond as a class, so hopefully we can go through (the school year) with a positive attitude."

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