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Day of ye olde ways

Keppel fifth-graders learn about U.S. history on Colonial Day.

May 01, 2010|By Max Zimbert

Fifth-grader Anna Sanvictores shook a small jar of whipping cream furiously, and said churning butter was no fun at all.

“I used to wash dishes at home, and I’d rather wash dishes,” she said. “It’s easier, and this could take hours.”

The butter-churning station was part of Colonial Day at Keppel Elementary School on Friday, when students got to live, play and eat like America’s Founding Fathers and early settlers.


“They know kids their age used to make butter as a chore,” said Terri Glassen, a parent and one of the day’s organizers. “This makes it more tangible because they are learning by experiencing it.”

Understanding how Native Americans and early Americans lived is a central part of fifth-grade social studies standards, said teacher Joanne Ward.

“We’ve got to work up to the reasons for the Revolutionary War,” she said.

Outside the school cafeteria, students Nora Casey and Tristan O’Donnell exchanged bows at the Colonial dance station.

“Cool kids do break dancing,” Tristan said.

Nora, who takes ballet after school, said Colonial dance is nothing like her lessons.

“There’s more solos,” she said. “I don’t think Ben Franklin did any ballet.”

Student-made butter was used to accompany the rolls, ham, fried chicken, corn and mashed potatoes parents provided students, nearly all of whom were in Colonial garb.

Cole Tatham, a fifth-grader, spent days working with his mother, sewing buttons, lace, coattails and felt to his Colonial garb.

“Ben Franklin is my favorite because he’s intelligent and witty,” Cole said. “Those are qualities I see in role models.”

At an arts-and-crafts table where students were making drums, Josiah Ward, a fifth-grader, said Paul Revere stood out among early Americans for his multitasking.

“He had a lot of jobs,” Josiah said. “From Thomas Jefferson, I learned to be truthful.”

The newest addition to the 3-year-old Colonial Day was a play where five students played John Hancock, Revere, George Washington, Franklin and Jefferson.

“The play gets them thinking about Founding Fathers, and that signing the Declaration of Independence was really dangerous,” said Cathy Gilbert, a parent volunteer.

Students also had a games station, where they played 18th century marble and bowling games, as well as quoits, a Colonial version of horseshoes.

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