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Elsa, reindeer and a little literacy delight students on ‘Frozen’ day

A white Christmas may seem unlikely, but students at South Buffalo’s Discovery School still got a wintry holiday experience inspired by the hit movie “Frozen.”

On Tuesday, the indoor courtyard had been turned into a winter wonderland, complete with a wooden “snow palace” that was designed, carved and painted by technology students. Paper snowflakes – one for each of the roughly 650 students at the school – hung from the railways. Students spent the day making melted snowman ornaments and reindeer food to attract Santa’s magic sleigh.

“Isn’t this festive?” one child squealed to her classmate as they finished decorating cookies that were baked by home economics students.

The festivities also attracted a few unlikely participants, including two reindeer who greeted students as they arrived at school. Santa Claus appeared at a morning assembly, although he was quickly upstaged by princesses Elsa and Anna, the two main characters from the movie.

Smiles beamed from students’ faces as the princesses entered the auditorium, and one child even called out “I love you, Elsa!”

“This is what the holidays are about,” said Principal Mary Jo Conrad.

And along with the contributions from the technology and home economics courses, teachers sneaked in a few other academic skills. Students wrote letters to Santa, and listened to a story read by princesses Elsa and Anna.

This was the second year the staff at Discovery came up with an elaborate holiday celebration that not only promotes literacy and creativity, but rewards students for positive behavior. For last year’s theme, “The Polar Express,” older students constructed a 20-by-20-foot engine that spouted steam.

The idea for the “Frozen” celebration came from physical education and health teacher Jenny Hart, who then worked with staff members to come up with activities – and ways to incorporate some academics into the festivities.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” Hart said. “We figured with the popularity of the movie, the kids would get into it.”

Parents donated supplies and helped coordinate logistics, including arranging for the reindeer visit. Many were at the school helping students with the activities.

What seemed to be the favorite? A horse and carriage ride through the parking lot.

“My favorite thing was going on the horse ride,” said third-grader Roman Jackson. “My class sang Christmas songs while we rode.”

The celebration seemed to be an evolution from more traditional holiday celebrations. But Roman had a ready explanation for the differences.

“You know, different day, different age,” he said.

email: tlankes@buffnews.com