May 8, 2019 – West Bend, WI – As the Holy Angels fourth graders study the history of Wisconsin, an important era was that of pioneer days. It was the early settlers who fashioned what Wisconsin would become. Their grit and determination in the wilderness created the strong foundation for continued growth as a territory and state.
The students in Ms. Bender’s class recently endured a day of pioneer life as they attempted to replicate the days of yore. The day began with lining up for entering the school with boys in one line and the girls in the other. Of course, the “gentlemen” let the girls enter the building first, holding the doors for their classmates.
Because ballpoint pens have replaced ink wells, the girls with pigtails didn’t worry about getting their hair dipped in ink. The students were quickly warned that if they weren’t looking, it meant they weren’t listening, and if they weren’t listening, they weren’t learning.
Activities included some arts and crafts. Students created metal plates with punched decorations and later started to make corn husk dolls.
The students certainly got the sense that schooling in the pioneer days was a serious business (except when it came time for recess). Students were expected to stand at their place when called upon to answer and they addressed their elders properly with “ma’am” and “sir.”
It wasn’t clear if students would continue to refrain from smiling when they returned to school on Monday, but they knew that life was different a hundred years ago!