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West Lauderdale moves classroom outside

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Oct. 24, 2002
Students at West Lauderdale Schools will soon learn some of their lessons outside.
With help from a Keep America Beautiful grant, West Lauderdale will build a half-acre, outdoor classroom the school plans to call "Dragonfly Grove."
Mitt Hitt, who is active with West Lauderdale Schools, thought of the idea as a tribute to her niece, Lynette Mayatt Odom a West Lauderdale kindergarten teacher who died of cancer in 1999.
Fitting tribute
Students and faculty set aside Saturday, National Make a Difference Day, to clean up West Lauderdale's campus and to build and landscape the outdoor classroom.
With help from master gardeners and the 4-H Extension Service, workers will plant lantana, mondo grass, Carolina jasmine, trees, butterfly bushes and other plant species.
Odom's mother, Jeffrey Mayatt, learned about the project last week.
Mayatt said the outdoor classroom is a perfect tribute to her daughter who loved gardening, the outdoors and science.
More than just science
All students and teachers, not just those involved in science. will use the classroom, said Kristy Woolridge, librarian and project coordinator.
Instead of sitting in a classroom, Woolridge said, students can work on creative writing assignments outside and more readily use their five senses.
Ninth-grader Heather Lewis likes the idea of an outside classroom.
Besides teaching environmental science lessons and creative writing, Lewis said the outdoor classroom also will help students do math word problems.
Laid-back environment
Environmental science teacher Renee Daughtery said taking her class outside the traditional classroom allows for more student-teacher interaction.
Eleventh-grader Andy Bryant said being outside helps students relax.