TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

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May 2, 2009

Playing the Ponies







Corbin Primary’s second graders enacted their own Kentucky Derby on Friday as children raced homemade stick horses, donned homemade hats and enjoyed the pageantry of the commonwealth’s most famous sporting event.

“This is about close to the 15th year that we’ve done this,” said teacher Samantha Burton. “We just do it as a celebration of the Kentucky Derby, and we tie in the history of the Derby and how it boosts our economics in Kentucky.”

The rain held off long enough for students to get in a few races, with five to 10 students racing their stick ponies in each heat. Because of concerns that the playground track would be slippery, most students simply joined in a “Pegasus Parade” and marched around the track.

“We’ve got little girls with Derby hats and we have different kinds of horses and we made feed bags with our own mixture of horse feed, which was Cheerios,” Burton said. “...We even encouraged the boys, if they wanted to, to make hats and I think I’ve seen a few boys with hats on. We gave them the option of hats or horses or neither, they could just be spectators.”

Earlier in the week, second graders visited a Lexington farm with horses, cattle and even more exotic animals such as zebras and llamas. Just about all second grade subjects this week — math, reading, science and history — tied into Derby themes.

“We have thematic units of study that link to Kentucky core content in the program of studies, and so the teachers collaborate together on these projects and build their curriculum into these things,” said Corbin Primary Principal Travis Wilder. “We have these culminating projects at the end to link all of it together. This is just one part of it, but there’s also assessments that go with it.”

Derby Day was also the first chance for Corbin Primary students to use the school’s new outdoor classroom, a canopied and black-topped area that was used as the “grandstand” for race spectators.

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