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ELON, N.C. (WGHP) — The saying goes “everybody loves a parade.”

And that’s definitely true at Altamahaw Ossipee Elementary School where the students, led by the Western Alamance High School Marching Band and Dance Team, created their own balloon parade.

They marched through the hallways and even out into the parking lot boosting their creative balloons galore. But all the activities started earlier in the day with a book.

“We read the book ‘Balloons Over Broadway,’ which is a biography about the man, Tony Stark, who created the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, and students then took their favorite book character, and they created a balloon in that image,” Laurin Rose, a first-grade teacher.

A-O is a STEM school, and the students let their science, engineering, math and technology skills shine while creating their balloons.

Student Andrea Hernandez made her balloon to look like Baby Yoda.

“I got a balloon that was green, so it could match the head, and I kept on seeing the photo, so I can match what I did and…my creation, and I just…got a piece of scrap paper that matched like the clothes and all that stuff so that it can match the balloon and that it can match the photo,” she said.

This is the kind of learning that teachers say gets young minds working overtime.

“Those hands-on tasks are their favorite. They would much rather do that as it’s a great way to show their learning versus a worksheet or just a regular piece of paper,” Rose said. “I think it gives students more ownership of their activity. It just lets them use their imagination. There’s endless possibilities that they can create with their activity. It becomes their own, their vision of how they see things and what they want to do.”

This was a school-wide project with many teachers designing their own unique activities for the students.

“Our AIG teacher did a fantastic job. Ms. Nathan…created a virtual reality project, and she actually created it through the teacher leadership academy. She got a grant for virtual reality goggles. And she created an activity where kids could actually physically seem to be at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Rose said. “With the 3d glasses, it was like they were there, and the kids just lit up. They’ve seen it on our smartboards, but when they were there, and they could see like they could put it up to their face and turn around and look down that really made it realistic. They felt like they were really there. And that was very special.”

Another teacher created a hyper doc with links to videos for the kids to see.

“It’s really brought our school together and our students. And it’s just something that we need to lift the bar spirits for everybody, the kids, and the teachers because it’s been a rough year with the pandemic.”

For the students, it was a fun way to learn.