Third-graders report on Hotel Colorado’s history |

Third-graders report on Hotel Colorado’s history

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. To start, I’d like to tell you about Scarface. Scarface had a secret tunnel under the Hotel Colorado – so he could get out without getting shot. Once, someone asked him for some whiskey, and he gave them $5,000 instead, which lasted them all through college. The hotel has a place where horses came in and dropped people off or picked them up like trains in a subway. There was also a haunted room where dead people were kept while waiting to be buried. Doors and lights go on and off on their own.Those are a few of the things Glenwood Springs Elementary School third-graders wrote about during a recent field trip to the Hotel Colorado. Students visited the hotel to learn about the community and to practice their non-fiction writing skills. “A lot of historic people died there,” one student said, “That makes me want to learn more.”

On Thursday afternoon, five GSES third-grade classes gathered in Ann Meyer’s classroom where one of the best papers was selected from each class. An expandable wall folded back accordion-style, joining two classrooms. A moment of suspense followed as students wondered what the other class would look like today. Then the wall folded back completely, revealing another classroom full of glowing third-grade eyes staring back intently. “Good afternoon Mrs. Shaver’s class,” Meyer’s class said in chorus.Winning stories were picked for their good writing, organization, information and voice. “As we read them, we saw so many good papers, we thought we better take one from each class,” Assistant Principal Ted Donahue said. He congratulated everyone for their work, saying it was tough to decide which stories to pick. About 85 third-graders patted themselves on their backs.

Each winning story was read and the writers stood up in turn for applause. The winning writers were: Noah Alles, Jacqueline Varela, Lillie Harden, Sara McCafferty and Edgar Carbajal. They got teddy bears and will take another trip to the hotel for lunch next Wednesday. Why teddy bears?”All teddies are good teddies,” Principal Sonya Hemmen said. Actually, Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the Hotel Colorado, and his daughter made him a teddy bear with the word “Teddy” stitched to its name tag, a student explained.The Hotel Colorado stories represent part of a push toward emphasizing non-fiction writing, Donahue said. Current research indicates that non-fiction writing increases a kid’s ability to explain their ideas and reasoning, he added. The phenomenon seems to be making it’s way through the school – even in physical education class. Kids wrote out steps on how to throw a ball on posters on the wall entering the gymnasium. Younger students began with pictures including stick drawings with arrows to show movement.”We want the kids to think of writing as something we do everywhere,” Donahue said, “not just in writing class.”Third-grade social studies curriculum includes a look at communities, which serves as a prelude to learning history in fourth grade, Donahue said. He said Glenwood Springs provides many opportunities to visit interesting historic sites.

“It’s awesome being able to walk to these places,” he said.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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