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South Jordan Journal

Elk Meadows Fifth-Graders Sample Colonial Days

May 10, 2016 12:12PM ● By Julie Slama

Elk Meadows fifth-graders Caleb Thomas and Zachary Bateman learned games during the school’s annual Colonial Days on May 10. — Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Elk Meadows fifth-grader Saya Cottle remembers learning how Colonial Americans lived on farms and were self-sufficient. Classmate Ryanna Lee read the Little House book series and thought they’d be making butter in a different way than with a churn, but she said knew it still would be fun. Fifth-grader Cameron Goodman was eager to try dipping a candle after making a candle-holder.
It was all part of Colonial Days, where, on May 10, about 120 fifth-grade students had a chance to engage in hands-on activities that reinforced what they learned earlier that year.
“It gives them a glimpse of life during Colonial times and have a chance to see what life was like,” fifth-grade teacher Alicia Harrison said. “They learned by making things like candles, quilts and butter that not everything is already made. It’s a big departure from what they may be used to.”
For many students, these experiences were new.
“There’s a lot of our students who have never played jacks or marbles or maybe they’ve never threaded a needle and sewn,” fifth-grade teacher Wendi Bailey said. “We’re trying to give them activities that were authentic of that time period during our Colonial Days.”
Parent Christina Cheney, who was one of eight parents helping that day, was teaching games.
“It’s strange to see that kids don’t know how to play checkers or jacks and marbles,” she said. “It’s fun that they’re seeing what they did back then and even what we did as kids, along with hopscotch and hula hoops. It’s good that they’re unplugging and interacting with human beings and learning these games that have been around forever.”
Fifth-grade teacher Garth Limb agrees.
“It’s good to get away from the iPads and iPhones and instead learn how life was in the 1800s where kids played checkers and chess,” he said. “They knew practical skills like candle-making and sewing, but they still had fun being physical with stick-pull and leg pull.”
Fifth-grader Rebeca Rios learned how to leg wrestle.
“I did pretty well,” she said. “I learned to kick, then flip the other person over. I think my flexibility with soccer and ballet helped. I also made a silhouette with the light coming from a projector, but they would have used a candle. I like these activities and learning to experience how they did things back then.”
Harrison said that the teachers decided on the activities, tying it into their curriculum.
“We tied it into science having them explain how butter is made from whipping cream and salt, and social studies— getting to know how others lived and having a greater understanding of the world as a whole. We discussed it in class and we’ve had short writing assignments on the topic. They’ve learned to appreciate more and realize things used to take a lot longer than they do today,” she said.
That’s what fifth-grader Travin Abplanalp realized.
“I thought it would be fun to sew, but it looks easier than it is,” he said about sewing a hand-size pillow. “I did pretty well, though. Now I want to sew a Halloween costume.”
Travin, who said he appreciated learning about Colonial America said that he would have liked to experience some of the tools they had then.
“I know they didn’t have electricity or computers and I think I could like without videos. I’d have a greater knowledge from doing and learning along the way,” he said.