Thursday, January 14, 2010

Walking in Paul Revere’s Footsteps: The Fifth Grade Visits Boston

In the spring of 2008, The Willows’ 5th grade embarked on a brand-new adventure: a five-day trip to Boston, Massachusetts.

The brainchild of the fifth grade teachers, the trip fit perfectly with the 5th grade study of the European settlement of North America, the Colonial period, and the American Revolution.

Every fall for years, The Willows’ fifth grade had welcomed a “Guest Pilgrim” to their classroom. A costumed historical interpreter from Plimoth Planation, a living museum in Massachusetts that recreates the village of Plimoth in the late 17th century, visited and talked with the children about life during his time period.

“The students loved the Pilgrim visits,” says fifth grade teacher Jane Lewine, “but we always imagined how wonderful it would be if our classes could see Plimoth Plantation for themselves and have a much deeper understand of colonial life in New England.”

With the assistance of a former Willows faculty member now living in Massachusetts, the team planned a trip to Boston that dovetailed with their yearlong curriculum. The journey included a walking tour of the Freedom Trail; a kayak trip down the Concord River past the Old North Bridge; a visit to Old Sturbridge Village, a living museum depicting American life in the 1840’s; and, of course, a trip to Plimoth Plantation.

“The kids loved it,” says Jane. “One of the absolute highlights was the kayak trip. It took forever, but with aching arms and huge smiles we arrived feeling strong, brave, and incredibly accomplished.”

Seventh grader Louie G., ’08, who went on the first trip, agrees. “ I loved the Boston trip! It was great that we were studying the pioneers of our country, and we were like the pioneers for the trip. I especially liked Sturbridge Village, with all the old buildings - it was just like a cool rendering of an old New England village. It felt like I was actually there, back in the time period.”


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