Judson Journal Winter 2014 - page 5

Camp Honey Creek:
10 Years of Science In Nature
Typical EOC Test?
No
Innovative?
Yes
By Jessica Brown (Wagner HS Student)
For some, fame and for-
tune comes with flashing lights,
fancy cars and screaming fans. For
others, it takes the form of a pass-
ing score, wigs, and smart beans.
Earlier this year, biology teacher
Priscilla Alfaro’s students prepared
for the End of Course Exam
(EOC) by making a science video in which students rapped and
danced about all of the material that they have studied.
Their efforts were eventually recognized by State Representative
Leticia Van de
Putte, who awarded
the students a certif-
icate of recognition
for innovative study
in Biology.
“We worked for
two months straight
after school,” senior
Delon “Georgia”
Weaver said. The
students had to do
research to make
the video while Ms.
Alfaro tried to find anyone who could help to make this video
successful. The theater department provided clothing, wigs and
costume-related items that appeared in the video. “I recruited
anyone I knew who could do anything.” Alfaro said. Thanks to
volunteers helping out, the video didn’t cost the group anything
out of pocket except, according to Weaver, “time! Time and
patience.”
Along with passing the
EOCs, the students made
some very strong bonds too. The process included laughs,
arguments and plenty of ups and downs through the year that
made it a real investment for each student. “Mainly the hardest
thing was keeping everyone together and focused,” sophomore
Alyssa Ortiz said. For sophomore Breanna Watson, “The hard-
est part was acting it out.” But for everyone involved, the best
thing about making the video was the bonding. “The best part
was being with them,” Weaver said, pointing to his fellow cast-
mates. “We got closer.” Ortiz agrees: “I didn’t really talk to
Breanna before, and now we hang out. Georgia is my other half
now, I tell him everything.”
In the process, the students say they also became close to their
teacher – or, in Weaver’s case, to the teacher who drafted him
into making a video. A teacher he had never spoken to before. “I
didn’t have her for a class, I didn’t know her at all,” Weaver
said. “And now she’s helping me get scholarships, she’s staying
on top of me about my grade. When I get mad, I come in here
and talk to her.”
Students know Ms. Alfaro has an intense interest and
focus. “She made us work,” Ortiz said. “Ms. Alfaro isn’t like
other teachers. I know that if I have a problem, I’ll come talk to
her. You think teachers usually just tell you ‘don’t worry, it’ll all
be okay’, but she’s not going to sugarcoat it. She’ll tell you what
you need to hear.”
For Alfaro, that was precisely the point of making the
video. It’s why she began this project in her classes in the first
place. “That’s why I would tell them, I expect you to pass. I
can’t have anyone in my music video who doesn’t pass,” she
said.
The project has even garnered the students some prized
attention. By now, the video has gone international. “I sent it to
people literally around the world. People in Italy, Europe, and all
over the US have seen it,” Ms. Alfaro said. It may be unorthodox
to use a rap video to teach Biology information. But Alfaro is
that kind of teacher. Besides providing inspiration in many dif-
ferent forms, she also has a secret tool. She turns to smart beans.
“The last day before EOCs, I thought, I can’t stuff anything
more into their brains. I went through the videos in class and
made them little packets of smart beans, told them they couldn’t
eat them now, they had to eat them that night before bed so
they’d be smart the next day,” Alfaro said. “And I guess it
worked, because they all passed.”
Many of the schools in Judson ISD participate in a special Science
Camp each year. It's a fun filled learning experience that takes
science out of the class room and puts it in the practical learning
context of nature. Camp Honey Creek in Hunt, Texas is where it
happens. It was started by Crestview Principal Dr. Nancy Gerhard
and Mrs. Pena ten years ago and they were honored for taking
those first steps in seeing the importance of letting kids learn in
this unique hands-on way. Not only do Crestview students benefit
from Science Camp, but many other schools around Judson ISD
and the surrounding area have followed their lead and take their
5th graders to this special camp too. It's a great opportunity for
these students each year and there are many staff members and
parent volunteers that help make it happen each time.
Chavelle Henley, Percyna Grant, Delon Weaver, Aileen
Martinez, Priscilla Alfaro, Breanna Watson, Daevion Cook,
Kayla Meadows and Alyssa Ortiz
1,2,3,4 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14
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