Last week Tom and I returned to Oglethorpe Point Elementary for Georgia History Day. Tom has gone every year for the Georgia History day, but I have only been one time previously, in 2019. Tom is always a hit in his colonial soldier clothing, so he is a good visual aid.
This year Tom and I were in charge of leading four 45 minute classes of Georgia history to third graders. We didn’t have a ranger leading the classes – we were the whole show. We decided to lead them through some problems in the founding of Georgia and have them brainstorm the solutions. The classes did great and the third graders came up with lots of great solutions, including the ones that were used here at Fort Frederica. Most of the children had visited the fort at one time or another because Oglethorpe Point Elementary School is just down the street from the fort.
The first problem we posed: Spain and Great Britain weren’t getting along. The solution: separate them by having a neutral territory in between Florida and South Carolina. The second problem: There wasn’t enough land for people to buy in Great Britain and many people were too poor to buy the land that was available. The solution: establish the colony of Georgia and let them have land there. The third problem: colonists from Great Britain moved into the neutral territory. The solution: war between Great Britain and Spain.
After posing these problems and coming up with solutions, we asked the children what kind of people we needed in order to establish a new colony. They were very good at guessing and mentioned soldiers, shoemakers, blacksmiths, carpenters, farmers, candlemakers, men, and women. We even had one boy say we needed wigmakers. The only thing the kids never guessed was children. But you need children or else your new colony won’t last very long.
After figuring out the kinds of people the new colony needed, we divided the class in half. Tom took half so they could play “ball in cup.” I took half and demonstrated spinning. Then I let them try treadling the spinning wheel. Most of the children got a chance to try the spinning wheel and some picked up the treadling right away.
After three classes we had a much-needed break for lunch. The fourth class was the hardest of the day for me because I was tired and getting hoarse from trying to speak over the children. By the end of the class I had used up all my words for the day. We packed up and headed out, getting back to Fort Frederica just before a thunderstorm.
Tom and I enjoyed working with the third graders at Oglethorpe Elementary. They were fun groups with lots of energy. We hope they will come out to the Fort and visit us on one of our living history Saturdays. I am also glad I am not a third grade teacher. I don’t know how the teachers have the energy to move by the end of the day. I am very thankful for those dedicated individuals who do this day in and day out.