The last two weeks of school can be quite hectic, and it is true that many students and teachers alike are counting the days, hours, minutes, etc. Yet, in the Friendswood Independent School District, no one should think the elementary students are just biding their time having teachers give them busy work.

Here is an example of what some elementary students accomplished recently.

In fourth grade, 10 of Stacey Mueller’s students were selected to present their inventions at the Houston Young Inventors Showcase inside the Wolff Center of Entrepreneurship at the CT Bauer School of Business.

The Young Inventors’ Showcase encourages the budding inventor in every child by providing a platform for children to share and celebrate their invention ideas. More than 100 inventions by second-graders to eighth-graders were put on display before judges. These were the finalists from a pool of around 2,500 students from 22 Houston schools who took part in building inventions. The judges graded the students on how well they presented their product, how marketable the product was and how well the student followed the process and kept a log of what was done.

The fourth annual Fifth Grade Finale was last week. This is a night for fifth-grade Gifted and Talented students from Windsong and Bales to come together to showcase their visual and performing art talents.

“We had a variety of talents, such as playing the violin, piano and guitar,” Mueller said. “Students also shared their artwork, photography and construction, including a Rube Goldberg creation. Some students sang and danced. We had a talented break dance rapper.

“The Finale is a student-led evening with students greeting, serving refreshments, acting as emcees and stagehands and creating the program and banners. It is a fun way for these students to come together before moving on to the junior high.”

Fifth-grade GT students also presented student-led conferences last week. Each student invites his or her family to attend and then gives an overall review of work completed during the course of the year. This includes special projects and class-time activities. The student self-evaluates their progress and shows examples to validate what they said.

Second-grade Westwood-Bales SEARCH students traveled to Village on the Park, senior assisted living community, last week to play card games with the residents. The students had created their own original game and wanted to teach it to those at the residential facility. The students also prepared a game board of events, including board games, their original game, popcorn time, mah jongg and known card games such as Skip Bo.

While it is true that elementary students do not take final exams, their final activities for the year continue to develop their minds, sharpen their number skills and provide great communication skills between them and adults while performing community service. One never stops growing in FISD.

Karolyn Gephart is director of communications for Friendswood ISD.

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