When students at Ridge Meadows Elementary
were introduced to an Asian elephant calf named Chhouk, they instantly fell in love with the wild animal.
By reading the book “The Elephant’s New Shoe,” students learned about overcoming barriers and how Chhouk survived an injury to his foot.
In an effort to enhance the students’ reading experience, librarian Lisa Molengraft organized a “Cheers for Chhouk Week.” On Monday, the entire school took part in a Zoom video conference with the author of the children’s book.
“I was so impressed by this story, and if we want to teach our kids kindness and empower our kids for change, animals certainly resonate with all age groups,” Molengraft shared. “It seemed like a great place to start.”
Pam Nihiser, Adventure Club facilitator at Ridge Meadows, collaborated with Molengraft to create a lifelike elephant to share with all of the students.
“When Lisa and I started talking about what we could do for this themed week, I started doing research,” Nihiser said.
That research turned into reality when she approached the students in Adventure Club about the project.
“I talked with the kids, and they got so excited about doing something of this nature," Nihiser said. "We started to put a plan together on how big we wanted it. We reached out to the students' parents to see if they would be willing to donate newspaper.”
In addition to balled-up newspaper, they used insulation sheeting, one-by-four wood strips, papier-mache clay, buttons, masking tape and paint. Nihiser said it took a little over a month to complete the project.
“It turned out amazing,” she said. “We’re so proud of how it turned out. It was a labor of love amongst 20 children who were so excited about doing this project.”