Show and tell at Options fair

KINGSTON — Students of the North Kitsap Options program were taking steps in unexpected ways Thursday morning.

Joe Beaulieu’s stilt walking class was utilizing its new-found skills in a corner of Gordon Elementary’s multi-purpose room — showing off what was learned at the most recent session of parent-led mini-classes during the Options Fair.

For four weeks in January and February, parents of students in the Options program taught classes for half or full days each Friday.

Beaulieu, who admitted that he’s not much of a teacher, said he thought it would be fun to show kids how to make stilts and how to use them.

“I made a pair of stilts for one of my girls on Thanksgiving weekend and she spent 20 hours on it,” he said.

After cutting the pieces and showing the kids how to construct stilts, they started practicing and took off with their new legs.

“It’s not all that interesting when you learn to stilt, so I had to come up with some ideas,” he explained.

Soccer games and obstacle courses furthered the kids’ experience with their wooden legs. Beaulieu and the kids also set up courses using string to create different patterns that the kids would have to step over.

“It’s satisfying,” he said. “It makes you feel good to see the kids get better and have so much fun.”

Even faculty members had a blast with the balancing act when the kids took the stilts to the playground one afternoon, Beaulieu said, noting that Options teacher Jerry Rice hopped on a pair as did another teacher.

The stilt walkers may also make a debut in the Kingston 4th of July parade, Beaulieu said.

Other kids took on “Casey’s Weird World,” getting involved in a variety of different activities based on parent Casey Burns’ hobbies.

“Essentially all these kids came over and played with my toys,” Burns said with a chuckle.

At the fair, he was demonstrating one of the devices used during the groups’ sessions called a “camera lucida.” The device allows the eye to see two superimposed images.

By looking through a microscope-like eye piece, the kids were able to see two images — a fossil that was located at one end of the camera and a piece of paper was underneath the other end of the camera.

As a result, the kids could see both images and trace the lines of the fossil on to the paper.

Burns also taught them music composition, measured the altitude of air powered rockets, visited the Sea and Shore Museum, hunted for zeolite crystals and hosted a chocolate tasting with dark chocolates from France during one of the program’s cooking classes.

It was an “overall Renaissance person experience,” Burns said.

Isabel Gates taught her students the basics of photography through field trips to Pike Place Market, Woodland Park Zoo and her own darkroom studio.

“It’s a field that the kids can’t help but be enthusiastic about,” she said, noting that the kids were “totally hooked” on the process of the darkroom, especially when they saw the images appear on the photographic paper.

“This was a good chance to take pictures and spend the rest of the year developing them,” Gates said, noting she’ll take two to three kids at a time now to help develop their pictures.

Fifth grader Keyla Beebe said she wants to continue her experience in photography, focusing on her favorite subject, people.

“You can really capture a lot of things,” she said.

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