Teachers’ promise to students really takes pluck

WILTON – Schoolchildren groaned when a teacher asked them to turn off television, video games and computers for a week. Then, they gasped, hooted and laughed when they learned their teachers would kiss a chicken, if 80 percent of the students do it.

Teacher Heidi Osgood thought up the idea after receiving information about Gov. John Baldacci’s challenge to Maine children to turn off the television and participate in fun and educational activities as part of the National TV-Turnoff Week, Monday, April 28, through Sunday, May 4.

Osgood said she tried to get Principal Paul Gooch to kiss the chicken but he bowed out. So the teachers stepped forward, though some did so reluctantly, and agreed to kiss Twit.

“I thought it would be a good incentive,” Osgood said.

Teachers at Cushing School are taking the governor’s effort a little bit farther, Osgood said, but that’s because teachers will kiss Twit, a black silky hen, if 80 percent of their classroom students turnoff the television, computers and video games for the week.

If the majority of the students follow through, teachers will be lining up at 2 p.m., Monday, May 5, to kiss Twit during a school-wide assembly. And those who participate in shutting off their technology will each get a certificate for a pizza once the official TV turnoff form is submitted to the Maine Department of Education.

Magic may help

Teachers are also holding two special nights that week to help students get through the week. At 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, there will be a magic show with Pat Swan in the school gym. Also, a family game night will be 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in the gym.

Teachers have also planned a weeklong read-a-thon to coincide with TV-Turnoff Week to help kids keep busy.

Special prizes will be offered during the week for participants, as well as prizes for students who stick to the seven-day turnoff.

Students will have a chance to e-mail the governor on Monday, April 28. The governor will check his e-mail throughout the day and will respond to selected student messages. Students are being encouraged to share their ideas and answer the question “Where is your favorite place to go in Maine?”

His e-mail address is governor@maine.gov.

Packets with a variety of things, including a paper chicken to put on the televisions as a reminder, were sent home Friday before vacation.

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