Old times are not forgotten
Westminster Schools pupils study Colonial-era lifestyles
By Nikasha Dicks| Staff Writer
Thursday, January 21, 2010

Foster Williams was eager to begin the candle-making activity.

"It kind of reminds me of when I was younger," the 11-year-old said. "When I was 6, I made candles with my parents, and it was a lot of fun. I gave the finished candles to my grandmother."

Foster was among about 40 fifth-graders at Westminster Schools of Augusta who participated in Johnny Tremain Day on Friday.

The pupils created stenciled art and candles, punched designs in copper and learned how to tie knots.

They are reading Johnny Tremain, a work of historical fiction. Johnny is an apprentice in a silversmith shop during the era leading up to the American Revolution, said Barbara Volpitto, a fifth-grade teacher.

"The activities help them connect more with the character and the experiences that are talked about in the book," she said. "Today is a fun day for them, but during those times these activities wouldn't be something they would do for fun. It would be things they would have to know" how to do to survive.

The day gives the pupils something to reflect on as they continue reading the book, said Theresa Bone, another fifth-grade teacher.

"We will compare and contrast what they have experienced with what they read," she said. "It helps bring the book to life. They get really excited when they read about these activities and have their own experiences to compare to it."

Pupils also got a chance to taste foods eaten during the period.

Ava Burgess, 10, made white bread from scratch.

"I figured it would be a lot of fun to try it," she said. "It was a little tricky, but my mom helped me with the tricky parts. I had fun making it, though."

She also enjoyed making crafts.

"It's neat," she said. "We're getting to do things that were done back in that time, and it's different from what we normally do in school."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

From the Thursday, January 21, 2010 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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