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Magician hopes his act motivates pupils to read

Posted: May 29, 2012 - 9:16pm  |  Updated: June 6, 2012 - 2:57pm
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ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFFCHAD CREWS PERFORMS MAGIC FRIDAY MORNING DURING THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL AT MERRIWETHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NORTH AUGUSTA.   ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFFCHAD CREWS PERFORMS MAGIC FRIDAY MORNING DURING THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL AT MERRIWETHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NORTH AUGUSTA.
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFFCHAD CREWS PERFORMS MAGIC FRIDAY MORNING DURING THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL AT MERRIWETHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NORTH AUGUSTA.
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFFCHAD CREWS PERFORMS MAGIC FRIDAY MORNING DURING THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL AT MERRIWETHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NORTH AUGUSTA.

 

Before Chad Crews started his magic show at Merriwether Elementary School, he showed the pupils a book and told them it’s how he learned magic.

Then, he began his show.

There were a lot of “ooohs” and “aaahs” May 18 as Crews performed tricks such as turning a green balloon snake into a real snake. Then there was a room full of laughter as their teachers assisted him with his suit jacket version of Houdini’s famous straight jacket trick.

As he demonstrated a copper cup and balls trick, the pupils looked on curiously and shouted guesses of where the balls went, with teachers joining in on the fun.

While the pupils were intrigued with his performance, Crews continued to emphasize that reading and using the library’s resources were a great way to learn and expand their interests.

“My whole goal is to get them to read. Find something they are interested in and check out a book and read all about it,” said Crews, who has been doing magic for more than 10 years and in area schools and libraries for the past six years.

They hope that by seeing what things can come of reading, that it will encourage pupils to read for enjoyment, said assistant principal Patty Gibbs.

“I think it’s important that they see something interesting and interactive,” she said. “We want them to see that reading is fun and you can learn about a lot of different things when you read.”

The magic show was one of several activities the pupils and parents participated in as a part of the school’s third annual Reading and Math Beach Blast.

The event is a fun way to show pupils that math and reading skills are essential in life, he added.

“I believe that reading and math are the foundations for education,” he said. “If you have those skills, you can achieve anything.”

Throughout the day, pupils completed reading and math activities and received visits from guest speakers.

There were seminars for parents on how to help their child succeed in reading and math. Parents were also given reading and math activities their child can complete over the summer break.

Click to see video: http://bcove.me/5nfc368s

LOCAL HISTORY

One of the guest speakers was archaeologist Mark Newell, director of The Edgefield Stoneware Research Center.

Newell talked with third-grade pupils about Edgefield pottery, particularly face jugs, and their connection to the Congo in Africa. The face jugs have been linked to the potteries that existed in Edgefield County during the 19th century.

Newell, along with colleague April Hynes, has spent years researching the face jugs, which have been a ‘‘great mystery,” he said.

That is, until now.

He and Hynes’ research revealed that the face jugs are related to how villages in the Congo shared their religious beliefs, he said.

Newell said they believe that the face jugs were created as religious objects and were used to hold “magical substances.”

They have also found a jug in the Northeast – where many of the jugs have been found in personal collections – that has an incantation written on the back that further supports their belief, he said.

Newell is in the process of writing a book regarding their research and discoveries.

He hopes that his presentation taught pupils there is a lot of history right where they live and that it also sparks their interest in historical preservation.

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