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Open Door students learn life skills

Open Door School teacher Kristina Smith takes a pie to the face during Math Day Friday.

Seven-year-old Dustin Gallaway picks up a plate full of whipped cream, counts out five steps, takes aim and throws it at his teacher, Kristina Smith.


Smith wipes the topping off her face while Dustin’s classmates at the Open Door School go wild with applause.

Throwing a pie at their teachers’ faces was just one of the ways that Open Door students participated in Math Day Friday. The activity taught the students accuracy and reinforced their counting skills.

“Math is important for everyone and especially for these kids,” Smith, an intervention specialist and primary one teacher, said. “They have to be able to have fun with math. We’re trying to get it to be fun for them so they can learn math skills that are so critical for everyone in life.”

Students had track and field activities that included a jumping competition in which they measured their distances and an obstacle course that had students crawling through a tunnel, zigzagging through poles and jumping on a trampoline. The obstacle course also included a color recognition portion.

“I made it all the way through there,” Dustin said after completing the obstacle course. “I did good.”

Gym teacher Jim Robinson said the students were excited for Math Day.

“A lot of them are learning a lot of different concepts,” he said. “They’re having a lot of fun.”

This is the second year for Math Day. Smith, who organized the event, said she hopes the students learn just how fun math can be.

“(I hope) they see where they use math in places where they don’t normally think about it,” she said.

She added that the event gets the students ready to celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March.

“It gets them ready to celebrate what they can do,” Smith said. “They can do anything anyone else can do, we’ve just got to help them along.”