Jan Coates from Island Readers and Writers has been organizing another Big Read. Last time it was Call of the Wild. That was two years ago and the kids still pretend they're sled dogs named Buck. This time around it is Tom Sawyer that we're reading. The 5th and 6th graders are about halfway done with it so far and, though it's a tough read, they're enjoying it a lot. Jan came out and brought two guests: a period re-enactor who specializes in 1800's classrooms, and another teacher who specializes in period games. The kids came in from recess and the classroom had been rearranged with these items sitting at every seat. The teacher was all dressed up in old fashioned attire and made the kids bow and curtsy to her! It was priceless and I was too busy giggling to take photos.
She acted exactly as a teacher back in 1850 might act. The kids were, quite frankly, terrified. They had to stand and say "Ma'am" before they answered a question. Needless to say NOBODY was raising their hands.
They had to copy down a poem from their reader onto their slates, all the while memorizing the poem to say in front of the class. Then she called them up to look at their work and have them recite the poem. She even called Mr. Finn and me up to say it! She was hardcore.
Mr. Finn kept messing with Tyler and there was no way Tyler was going to get up to any funny business...he was a serious little student the entire time!
Brody and Austin having their work checked and reciting the poem.
They all had my handkerchiefs to use to blow their noses, since there were no tissues back then. Unfortunately everyone was sick with that nasty cough/snot mess that's been going around, so the hankies were used liberally. Thank goodness I don't have to wash things like they did back in the 1800s.
I honestly think that the kids didn't really realize that the teacher was an actor as they came in and she just immediately was in this role. They told us later that she scared the pants off them! So funny! And a real look into how our own 100 year old schoolhouse would have been like, minus the switches.