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New subject for Sheridan students: how to dress a sheep

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Kris Knutson put a pair of red socks and a tie on a very unhappy sheep Friday morning. That’s because the Sheridan Elementary School principal had to settle a debt with his students for meeting their reading goal this year. All the school’s 95 students and five staff members boarded buses Friday for a trip to the Lincoln High School Farm. They watched Knutson climb over the pen wall, catch a sheep and dress it with a school T-shirt, socks, tie and a silver sequin belt. “He should have put it on a cow because that would have been funnier,” said Shawnee Mariner, 9. “It was funny because he had to keep putting the socks on the sheep.” The sheep did not make it easy for Knutson, escaping from his grasp at one point and running to the protection of the other sheep in the pen. The school visits the farm every year when students meet their goal. In previous years, Knutson had to kiss a cow and dress a chicken, according to Lynn Brown, a second- and third-grade teacher at the Sheridan Elementary School. “We come out to the farm with the idea of connecting kids to farm because I really value the connection to the rural community,” Knutson said. “Some of the kids have never been on a farm.” Students earned points for reading books over the course of this school year. Knutson praised students for exceeding their goal of more than 250 points and challenges them for the next year. “Next year, our goal is to beat that by over 100 points and I’m not coming out here unless you do so you have to keep reading over the summer,” Knutson said. The students were awarded points by reading books, according to Brown, and each book was allotted a certain number of points. Some students excelled when it came to their reading goal, reading books for fifth- and sixth-grade levels when they were in the third- and fourth-grade, according to Brown. Those students include Ayden Moodie, Mackenzie and Mazie MacFarlane, and Emily Sampson. “I like the mystery and suspense of reading, and the endings when you find out who the culprit is,” said Emily, 9, who likes to read mysteries such as “Nancy Drew” and “The Hardy Boys.” Emily liked seeing her principal put socks on the sheep “because they kept falling off.” Mazie, 9, said she liked “being able to get prizes for reading as much” as she did and her principal dressing the sheep “was pretty funny, too.” “Everyone reached their goal at the end of the year,” Mazie said.