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Teacher: Halloween not just for dressing up

October 16, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

CHARLESTON - While many children this time of year are thinking about Halloween costumes, an award-winning Buckhannon teacher believes there are many imaginative learning opportunities that can be undertaken by students "dressing up" throughout the year.

Robin Oldaker, a kindergarten teacher at Union Elementary and the 2011 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipient, says her school has found ways to use costumes for more than just trick-or-treating.

"We know many children enjoy dressing up, so we have allowed students to dress up but have aligned it to core education standards," Oldaker said.

"For example, I ask my kindergarten students to dress as nursery rhyme characters and recite the rhyme," Oldaker says.

"It is wonderful to see the creativity in the students! And, it is an excellent teaching opportunity."

According to Oldaker, students in some of the higher grade levels choose a career, dress in costume and do a report on that particular field. Another class holds a United Nations Day, and the students do a report on the country and dress accordingly. Students in lower grades dress as book characters and do book reports.

"I appreciate the creativity my colleagues bring to their classrooms," says Oldaker. "Halloween also is a good time to remember to 'treat' excellent teachers who bring learning to their students in so many imaginative ways. One way is to nominate them online for an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award at"

This is the 25th anniversary of Arch's prestigious teacher recognition program. Early in 2013, 12 excellent teachers will be chosen from the applications to receive a $3,500 award.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is a top five global coal producer and marketer and the most diversified American coal company, with mining complexes across every major U.S. coal supply basin.

In 2011, Arch continued to lead the U.S. coal industry in safety performance and environmental compliance among large, diversified producers. Arch Coal's West Virginia operations have a combined workforce of more than 1,750.



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