Holiday Art and Technology

Reeces Creek ES Holiday Make and Take
By: Todd Martin
Arts and crafts with family before the holiday mixed in with technology fun made for a festive “holiday make-and-take” gathering after school Thursday at Reeces Creek Elementary School in Killeen.
School Librarian Dina D’Amore threw the family party in celebration of a couple of Education Foundation grants and invited other community partners to provide fun activities, some using impressive technology and others the more cut-and-paste variety.
Between a couple of rows of bookshelves, children and adults navigated small robots with laptop-based remote controls attempting to push gifts to a miniature decorated Christmas tree.
At a table, family members used binary codes to make ornaments.
Another table allowed students and other guests to make their own video game story with colorful Bloxels pegs and boards.
Audie Murphy Middle School art teacher Megan Norton provided cards covered with black paint over various colors that allowed participants to scratch out pictures. She said her students made the cards for the event.
Last year and again this year, Reeces Creek received an Education Foundation grant that provided different kinds of robots and books that incorporate coding, technology and building material for engineering projects.
“We wanted to thank the foundation and provide a showcase for our Sphero (miniature robots) and Bloxels (video game building boards),” D’Amore said.
“We have a middle school art teacher here,” she said. “Everyone likes arts and crafts at Christmastime.” She pointed out volunteers from the Killeen and Harker Heights libraries and the Texas A&M University Central Texas library.
“We’re not just consuming technology,” she said, “we’re learning you can create your own characters.”
The school sponsors a Maker Club and a Technology Club, providing students opportunities to explore creatively outside the classroom using a variety of technology.
“This is also about building the family,” the librarian said. “We’re doing things together and everyone is excited to be here. We want our children to have a reason to be excited to come to school.”
Nickole Diehl was excited to jump into the variety of activities with her daughter, fifth-grader Austin.
“I like how the kids are interacting with hands-on arts and crafts and technology, too,” Diehl said.
“It’s something different to get them out of their comfort zone.” She said her daughter is a natural athlete and she likes to encourage her to experience science, reading and art in fun ways, too.