Cassville fourth graders spend the day as pioneers at Laura Ingalls Wilder day
January 21, 2015
For many students, hands-on learning is the best option to help retain what they’ve learned, a concept that Cassville Intermediate has recognized for a number of years. One particular day each year, fourth grade students look forward to Laura Ingalls Wilder day.
Students spend a few weeks studying about Ingalls Wilder’s life and her books before the event where the school invites in volunteers to show how things were during Little House on the Prairie’s era. The event is not only fun, but also solidifies the students’ understanding of the differences between life then and now.
Volunteers at the event showed students how to spin wool into yarn, identify different furs and tracks of animals, make butter and biscuits, and play traditional-to-the-time-period games.
One of the fourth grade teachers, Kim Hall, noted, “Days like these are absolutely helpful in aiding student learning. Creating an event with so many experiences helps bring things we have been learning and will be talking about in class to life.”
Hall noted that some of the most memorable experiences for some of the students were making butter and biscuits. The Cassville FFA led the butter-making with small jars of cream and a lot of shaking. Then, fourth grade teacher Kay McCullah, helped the students make biscuits from a recipe.
Other stations during the day included a fur identification lesson by Dr. Larry Quinalty, an antique display by Chuck Miner, and a spinning wheel class led by Marie Iams. Iams showed students how to spin yarn from wool and also let them see some of the projects she’d completed. Hall said, “When my students found out how long it took our guest to finish a project, they were surprised and impressed.”
The long-standing tradition of Laura Ingalls Wilder day has been a tradition for the fourth grade class for over 20 years by most accounts. Each year, the school tries to vary the lessons to incorporate exciting and meaningful activities from the time period to tie into lessons about the books studied by the students like Farmer Boy and Little House in the Big Woods.
Students also played marbles, wrote on slates and had a parade to show off their pioneer garb to the third graders at Cassville Intermediate.
It is activities like this that help students retain lessons for the rest of their lives. Hall said, “I love the look of excitement in their eyes when they are sharing a connection about the book and what they learned on Laura Ingalls Wilder Day.”