Hands-on early America for Howbert 5th-graders
But there they were the evening of May 2, for parents and the public to see, grinning and laughing as they sought to carry out the Revolutionary War-era social lessons they'd learned earlier that day, as Howbert Elementary's gym became for a couple of hours the site of a “Colonial Ball.”
Close to 40 fifth-grade students, many of them dressed in early-American styles, were joined in the dances by similarly costumed school staffers (including Principal Deb Hawes). The Grandview Victorian Orchestra, a three-piece ensemble specializing in tunes from the past, performed on the stage, with the dances called by Sharon Guli of River Crossing.
“The students loved it,” said Cyndy Tatum, Howbert's teacher-learning coach, who organized the day's activities. “It's stuff that kids don't get taught these days. And it made history come alive.”
Colonial Day, as it was called, ties in with the current semester's fifth-grade unit on the Revolutionary War. Tatum has always valued that time, with its emphasis on liberty and people standing up for their rights, and she had immersed herself in it as a teacher through a three-year American history grant that ended last year.
But the basic school curriculum tends to focus just on facts, and she's found that not all children become engaged. “I've had students come up to me, not having any understanding of the Declaration of Independence,” she said. “This [the Colonial Day] gives them a broader understanding.”
She hopes to make the event an annual occasion for Howbert.
Westside Pioneer article