In honor of Thanksgiving, the students, at High Point R-III, spent last week engaged in a variety of activities that would also have occupied Americans' earliest settlers. The students practiced their calligraphy with a feathered ink pen to invite everyone to the gathering Tuesday. They learned of making clothing with a spinning wheel and how settlers repaired shoes, churned butter, baked biscuits on an open fire, investigated clocks and tools that were used by settlers and ate churned butter, jerky and dried apples at a feast.
The Colonial-themed event has been an annual tradition in Cathy Kliethermes' first and second grade class at High Point, R-III.
Tuesday afternoon the students sat at their desk covered in linen table cloth, decorated with colorful turkeys they made, anxiously awaiting their turn to cut out biscuits and place them in dutch ovens to be cooked over an open flame. As each student took their turn Kliethermes continued to have students share facts they learned about the early settlers.
When all the children had a turn, they bundled up in coats and gloves and went outside to place the kettles over a fire.
Upon returning to class Kliethermes demonstrated coffee grinding and allowed each student to enjoy the smell of coffee beans. They tried dried apples with Kliethermes explaining it was the only way they had to keep them for the winter. The students also tried jerky and sunflower seeds. Many had never had the opportunity and there were certainly mixed emotions when Kliethermes asked for thumbs up if they liked the food.
None of the students could quite imagine what it might be like to live without electricity and running water. Kliethermes shared many interesting stories about the historic items displayed and her students were amazed.
The students, wearing Native American or Pilgrim head-dressing in which they had created, shared many things they learned in a skit about the early settlers.
Emma Salchow shared "When they arrived in America it was winter and very cold. Everyone worked hard to build houses, make clothes and prepare food." Cameron Schnieders followed with, "Many people became sick and died. Only half of the Pilgrims who sailed to America on the Mayflower lived through the first hard winter." Cayden Cook chimed in with "Finally, one spring day, an Indian named Squanto said he would help the Pilgrims." The story continued with each child saying their part. Jillian Schmidt concluded with "President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a law that the fourth Thursday in November would be observed as Thanksgiving Day and would be a national holiday."
At the end of the feast the students were served the biscuits and butter they had prepared. All students shared a hearty thumbs up for them.