Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School fourth-graders immersed themselves in California history through field trips and make-believe.
In early April, they visited San Lorenzo Park, where they got to experience a one-room schoolhouse and learn about the rural history of Monterey County. Later that month they took an overnight trip to Gold Country. They explored the gold rush town of Columbia, panned for gold, participated in skits and songs, and visited an old cemetery. In the morning when they woke up they saw snow!
In addition to teaching the students about California history, the trips prepared them for an annual tradition at Catalina: Little Red Schoolhouse Day. On this day, students dress up in period costumes and experience school as if it were 1860. The classroom was decorated with pastoral artwork and a cardboard outhouse, and the lights were turned off to simulate a time without electricity. Students took a spelling test in cursive, stood up when speaking, and took turns wearing a dunce cap. Outside they had fun playing old-timey games including tiddlywinks, pick-up sticks, bowling, and a game with sticks and a hoop called Graces.
All of these activities were a fun way to bring history alive for students.