Robert B. Turner Elementary 5th Grade Students Celebrate Colonial Day By: Jayci Lucas
Travel back to the past by taking a look at Robert B. Turner Elementary’s 5th graders as they celebrate their annual Colonial Day: a day filled with guest speakers, bonnets, games, butter making, and more.
Prior to Colonial Day, the fifth graders studied colonization for about a month and a half, says fifth-grade social studies teacher Mrs. Sarah Wallace. But, instead of just learning through a textbook or worksheet, Mrs. Wallace decided to take it one step further and have her students participate in an all-day hands-on colonial experience. When asked what values the students learn from this experience, Wallace states, “Not only do multiple standards include colonization and developing a strong understanding of colonial life, but this day is another way to help build a love for social studies and an appreciation of how far our country has come in just a few hundred years." At the beginning of the unit, students are placed in "families" where they travel to the New World together, start a specialized business, go to Dame school, explore Colonial Williamsburg, and so much more. Their study culminates on Colonial Day. It is a day on which the students were asked to dress in their best colonial wear, and they exceeded the challenge. Whether wearing different articles of clothing found around the house or bonnets made at school, the students really captured the 17th-century look.
The day started with a guest speaker, Ricky Yates, a modern-day history buff. Yates is part of the National Muzzle-Loading Rifle Association, where he and his colleagues get together to learn more about history and culture. In his presentation to students during Colonial Day, he discussed topics such as the founding of Kentucky, Fort Harrod, Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, and the local Native American tribes.
After listening to the speaker, the students marched—yes, marched—back to their classrooms to do stations. Each fifth-grade teacher's classroom was set up as a different station. In one classroom, they even made butter using heavy whipping cream, a pinch of salt, a mason jar, and a marble. The students mixed all the ingredients into the jar and shook it for three minutes each, passing it around the table. After a few arm aches from many of the students, they were pleased to see their hard work finally pay off. In other classrooms, students played traditional colonial games and made bilbo catchers. It was an exciting and entertaining day for all involved. And the sight of the students in their traditional-looking costumes is one that also generates excitement among other students in the school.
“Each year, students in kindergarten through fourth grade see our fifth graders all dressed up, marching through the hallways, and anticipate their turn in fifth grade to experience Colonial Day. I love how the students get into the experiences as much as we do. Each student gets to eat food with the butter they made and take home souvenirs from their experiences, such as their feather quill pen notes, a Bilbo catcher, string art, and a bag of marbles. "They curtsy, bow, and try to have British accents,” says Wallace. Colonial Day was such a success, filled with lots of fun. Wallace concluded, “It's one of the many things I love about Turner, and a day I look forward to each year.” We have a feeling that she’s not the only one who feels that way.