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2/26/08 - Gilford Students Celebrate Village Market Day

Fourth graders have gained a new respect for our forefathers and their determination to settle the land in order to live as a true community. Learning from our visit with the Gilford Historical Society, students created life at a wilderness settlement. Mrs. Hayes’ students used Fort #4 in Charlestown, NH as a model, while students in Mrs. Bryant’s class, Mrs. Godbout’s class and Mrs. Lindsey’s class focused on the impact the colonial tradesmen had in community building.

Students applied their creativity and research skills while being involved in a problem-based learning challenge. After settling in colonial New Hampshire in the early 1700s various tradesmen begin springing up to help develop the ease and comfort of daily living. In order to establish trades in a colonial town, our students were asked to choose a trade to help the village grow.

During discussions students asked essential questions about their trades which launched the research process. Next, they gained information related to their trade from books, online searches and interviews with Historical Society members. This information was noted in a diligent note-taking endeavor, complete with art work and sketching.

Students prepared to show what they know about their trades by creating poems, journal entries, posters, handmade artifacts and reports to share with classmates. Students celebrated Village Market Day by setting up exact replicas of their shops, complete with tools and wares for sale.

The poetry that follows was generated from this endeavor:

The Apothecary

Walk into my shop and
this is what you’ll hear,
Click, grind, smoosh
The mortar and pestle doing its work.

Walk into my shop and
this is what you’ll smell
Spicy, pungent and soothing,
Sage, dill and lavender,
My new ingredients.

Walk into my shop and
this is what you’ll taste,
Hot, bitter, sour
Cayenne, parsley and vinegar.

Walk into my shop and
this is what you’ll see,
Herbs, bottles, leeches,
Everything to make you feel better.

Shipwright and Ship Chandler

As you stroll into the chandlery,
You’ll hear the ever-going drone of saws;
The clinking of glasses of ale.
The chatter of people at the counter:
The cry of gulls on the shore.
As if from far away you’ll remember
Great tales from Maritime lore.

The taste that you get-it is salt air.
It comes so fresh from the sea.
What is it that you’ve got there?
Is it so-and so’s hard tack recipe?
You don’t like the taste?
But when you try the next one-

They are all the same- You will see.

The smell is that of the sawdust-
The sweet fragrance just goes and goes.
Very sorry you are sneezing!
It is tickly in the nose.

You feel the cold sextants,
Some stiff hard sails,
Big rusty iron chains-
The blacksmith is thanked for that.
You know the reason why I make financial gains.
You know now I am important!

Students reflected on life in the fort as settler children in diaries that they had hand stitched in school. Some sample pages follow:

Dear Diary,
I am Johnny Squarewood. I just arrived at the fort. It is wintertime and all my family has is just a blanket, a bare cabin, and very little water and food. We walked all the way to the fort in the freezing snow. On the way, we saw a fox looking for something to eat. It’s getting dark so we will spread out our bed and read a little from our Bible and go to sleep.

Dear Diary,
Tonight is our first night at the fort and I am sort of scared. I keep hearing growls and unfamiliar creaks in the house. Our dog, George, keeps growling. The only comforting thing is the candle that I am burning by the bed so I can write. My brother is also writing in his journal. When he is finished, we will snuff out the candle and go to bed.

Dear Diary,
Today is my second day at the fort and I start my job at the mill. I had to get up early. When I get there, I set up the things I need for my job. I grab a sharp stone called a quirn stone and get some grain that some farmers have brought to the mill. If I grind it with the quirn stone, it will become cornmeal used to make johnnycake. We must be careful not to let the mice and bugs into the grain. It is July and it is hot. We must also be careful of fire. It will be a long and I will be tired from all the work. When I get home I will eat dinner and go to bed.