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Tuesday, May 07 2013 12:00 AM

Students rewarded for perfect attendance

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A group of second and third graders blow bubbles on the playground at Tompkins Elementary School during an extra afternoon recess at the “Bubble Blowout.” An event held to reward students for perfect attendance during a 10-day span between April 15, and 26. Photo by Matthew Martz/Tehachapi News

Nearly 700 schoolchildren crammed the playground at Tompkins Elementary School last Friday afternoon for the first ever "Bubble Blowout."

As a reward for students with perfect attendance during a two-week period between April 15, and April 26, every student received a bottle of soap bubbles, a piece of bubble gum and an extended all-grade extra recess for making it to school everyday.

As an added incentive, second through fifth grade students who participated in the school's annual Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR), which took place during the same period, received a candy blow pop for neatness while bubbling in their answers on their test sheets.

But it wasn't just the older students who took the challenge serious.

Mrs. Andrade's 21 pre-kindergarten students rose to the occasion, posting a perfect attendance record for the entire 10-day span -- the only class to do so.

The brainchild of second grade teacher Cherie Chavez, who proposed the idea after participating in a similar event while teaching at a different district, this year's Bubble Blowout is expected to be the first of many.

And even though the results of the incentive were mixed, particularly by grade level, Chavez believes it was a huge success overall.

"It's important to reward students who make it to school everyday, not only for testing, but in general," she said. "I think this first event will set a precedence, so the kids understand what they need to do and then as a result, what they get to do."

Students that didn't post the attendance record required to take part in the event, were still treated to a fun activity of their own for trying.

Meanwhile, out on the playground, Crystal Gonzalez a nine-year-old third grader in Ms. Foster's class said that the best part of the day was blowing bubbles.

"But I really liked getting a blow pop too," she added.

Hanging out nearby, third grader Nicholas Champagne said just being able to blow bubbles and chew gum was a big thrill -- two things that are normally not allowed on school grounds.

"I usually come to school everyday anyway, so it was easy to do," he said standing next to second-grade sister Caroline, as the two blew bubbles through ear-to-ear smiles with eight-year-old classmate Marisela Gonzalez.

But perhaps Alexis Delano, a second grader in Mrs. Hammer's class summed up the event best.

"It's just really, really, really, really fun," she said.

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