LONDONDERRY — No doubt about it, this winter has been one for the record books.
So naturally when the staff at Matthew Thornton Elementary School began thinking up ways to reward some of their best-behaved students, they kept the snowy season in mind.
"We were thinking of having a snowman-building contest, but it's just so cold out right now," Assistant Principal Ace Thompson said. "And we weren't sure how much actual snow we'd end up having outside."
Thinking outside the box, staff devised one way of bringing some winter fun to the great indoors.
"We got creative," said reading specialist Karen Kearney, who used her crafts knowledge to teach children in each grade how to build indoor "snowballs," or pompoms, out of white yarn.
This week's snowstorm brought plenty of the actual white stuff to the playground Friday, though the chilly winds made it a bit too cold to spend too much time outdoors.
Instead, a classroom from each grade was chosen to take part in the "snowball" fight in the school cafeteria Friday afternoon, minus the hats, mittens and bone-chilling weather.
Thompson said the lucky classes were chosen based on their overall good behavior in their homerooms, in the hallways and on the bus.
Students from teacher Sara Blanch's first grade class, Michael Quimby's second grade class, Anne Silvius's third grade class, Maribeth Coltin's fourth grade class and Meredith Jackes' fifth-grade class — about 100 students in all — each made their soft "snowballs" and had their chance to engage in an all-out throw-down with one another during last period.
How, exactly, does an indoor snowball fight work?
Well, it's similar to dodgeball, Thompson said.
"Except nobody ever strikes out," he noted.
Much to their delight, the kids got to keep their non-melting "snowballs" when the indoor battle concluded, on the condition that they'd refrain from throwing them during the bus ride home.
Friday, a parent conference day, was supposed to be a day off for Londonderry students but district officials changed those plans in the wake of all the recent snow days.