JANESVILLE

The seven habits of highly effective bunnies were on display at the second-to-last day of summer school at Van Buren Elementary.

Those habits included putting first things first by eating carrots and then kale.

On Friday, several weeks of project-based and bunny-based learning will culminate in presentations of what students learned and how they learned it.

Last year’s projects were based on helping the community. This year, projects were designed around school needs and student interests.

The bunny, for example, was part of a project about owning small animals.

Another group was working on the “Eight Eagles of Happiness,” a project designed to spread awareness of the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

The seven habits are a school-wide focus and include “be proactive,” “begin with the end in mind,” “put first things first,” “think win-win,” “seek to understand then be understood,” “synergize” and “sharpen the saw.”

Students made 3D representations of each habit. Sharpen the saw was represented—of course—by a tree and a saw. Maycie Utecht, 9, explained that “sharpening the saw” meant developing a healthy life and strong body.

Her design for “put first things first” was a large pencil and a ball.

“You have to do your work before you play,” she explained.

Trevor Stevurer, 9, worked on “think win-win.” The model included a key and a locked box. Both sides need each other, he explained.

It was Gabe Osenga, 8, who came up with the key-and-box idea, and Trevor designed it on the 3D printer. Their division of labor was a perfect example of the “synergize” habit.

Another group doubled the size of the school store—a large set of shelves—where students can redeem “Eagle Bucks” earned for good behavior.

Austin Bier, 8, helped put the final touches of paint on the store. The hardest part was painting within the lines, he said. This is always the case.

For Austin, the most important habit was “seek to understand” because it helped you make more friends.

Another group wrote a school song based on the seven habits, and a drama group wrote an anti-bullying play.

Most kids said putting “first things first” was the most difficult habit to master.

“Sometimes I can’t decide if I want to watch a video or play ‘Plants vs. Zombies,’” Bier said.

A tough decision—and certainly one you won’t solve at summer school.

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