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Union Elementary students go back in time

Woodworker Jeff Higgins asks for a student volunteer during Union Elementary School’s Colonial Day. Third grade students (left to right) Houston Gilmore, Bret Pittman, Samantha Livingston, Jennifer Dellinger, Tyler Albright and Michaela Setzer raise their hands. Throughout the course of the day Higgins built a miniature colonial home. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo

During Colonial Heritage Day, Union Elementary School third-graders learned hard truths about living during Colonial times.
“If I missed video games, I would die in a couple of days. Trust me,” said Matt Morrison, a student at the school on Friday.
Through hands-on activities and guest speakers, students learned about a world without video games and television.
They listened to husband and wife team Rick and Myra Jane Ramseur play the dulcimer, saw, spoons and a very large base fiddle.
“Oh, it’s real heavy,” Rick said. “That’s why she carries it, not me.”
Students sat crossed legged on the floor and bobbed their heads to the music. After the Ramseurs finished playing, Rick put on a magic show.
Students giggled in delight as he opened a flaming book, took coins out of ears and mouths, made a card float out of a stack and turned a flame into a rose.
The fun didn’t end at that center. Students also had a chance to get their hands messy making soap with oatmeal, oil, water and soap flakes.
“Get those hands in there,” said Lori Matney, a third grade teacher, as students rolled their soap into balls.
Not everyone enjoyed all the hands-on experiences. Kaylin Craig, a third-grader, felt she could do without the square dancing.
“I didn’t like it because I didn’t like the boys’ hands,” said Kaylin. “They were cold.”
Haley Haynes, on the other hand, loved the dancing.
“It was fun,” said Haynes, a student. “I think they should make it where there’s more dancing during school days.”
Students also practiced cross stitching, making homemade butter and using feather pens to work on their penmanship.
For some events, like story-telling, they sat quietly and listened. At other centers, they were allowed to stand up and help.
“Hands-on experience helps them learn, and it helps them remember what they learn,” said Matney.
When Jeff Jenkins, a carpenter, asked a group of students for a volunteer every hand in the room shot up.
Jenkins was building a miniature example of a Colonial home. He told students how important it was for those new to the land to build shelter quickly.
“If I lived in that time, and it rained, it would flood, and then I would get washed into the ocean,” said Matt.
Kim Setzer, who organized the event, asked Jenkins to volunteer after he built her a dining room table.
Setzer, the parent of a third-grader, spent time making phone calls to potential volunteers and researching information over the Internet.
“I just feel strongly about this area,” said Setzer. “I feel like it’s a lost art.”
The student will put their newfound knowledge to use when visiting Old Salem this week.by Sarah Grano

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