Pioneers in the 3rd Grade

Students from Parker’s 3rd grade recently immersed themselves in a study about European settlers in this region during the 1800s for this year’s annual Pioneer Activity Day.
Working through a series of activities that were common during this period, students learned candle making, yarn dolls creation, silhouette drawing, sewing, tin punching and more. Each activity began with a parent demonstration that outlined the activity’s expectations and process. Before the demonstrations, students received background information about the activity and how people applied this skill during pioneer times. Parent volunteers were on hand to assist every step of the way, and the students learned a great deal from these hands-on experiences and projects.
The next week, parents helped teachers transform their classrooms into 1823 school houses to help students experience some semblance of life in a pioneer school as part of their Pioneer School Day curriculum. Children came to school dressed in period clothing for the day, including the hats or aprons they sewed the week prior. Unlike a typical day at Parker, the Pioneer School Day featured a heavy emphasis on memorization and recitation. As part of this special day, students read from the McGuffey Third Reader, practiced writing proverbs in cursive, used slates for their arithmetic, danced the Virginia Reel in gym class and participated in a spelling bee that included words from the period, such as tallow, shuttle and sugar nippers.
Through the creation of these immersive activities, the 3rd grade teachers helped students develop a deeper understanding of what life was like for the European settlers. The experiences and lessons they learned are sure to stick with these students for years to come.

Click here for a full photo gallery from this lesson. 
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.