Sangerville

History comes alive for PCES fifth-graders

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GUILFORD — Grade 5 students at Piscataquis Community Elementary School recently took a journey back in time by studying American history and then applying what they earned through a play performed for their families and the community last month.

“It was a historical play,” grade 5-6 teacher Peggy Cleaves said about “A Journey Through American History” by Kimberly David. She said the production features a timespan from the second half of the 18th century with the Revolutionary War to the Civil War of the 1860s.

“That is basically what we cover so it was the perfect fit for our curriculum,” Cleaves said. “It makes for active learning and the kids remember that.”

“We do this every year and it is very important, the speaking and listening piece of the curriculum,” she said. “It is an important part of learning history and it is fun too.”

Cleaves said “A Journey Through American History” included music and dance pieces. She said at the start of the unit some students “think they can’t do it, but they work hard to learn their lines.”

The teacher said every year there are pupils who demonstrate new found outstanding acting and/or performing skills in the play, abilities not seen on a daily basis in the classroom.

“They just did a great, great job,” PCES Principal Anita Wright said.

Fifth- and sixth-graders also had the opportunity to witness some science lessons in nature with a field trip to Acadia National Park.

“We took a field trip which was really exciting,” grade 5-6 teacher Grace McGeehan said. “The trip was funded through our Friends of Acadia grant which is part of the outdoor classroom.”

She explained that the grant is providing funds for the forthcoming outside learning space and per the requirements three lessons are taught involving the national park with one being the field trip to Hancock County.

“It was gorgeous, it was perfect,” McGeehan said. “There was a 1.5-mile hike, the kids did a great job of climbing the mountain.”

She said the students studied geology and seeing various topographical features along the coast provided a more personal learning experience than simply reading a textbook. “Acadia was once a volcano and we could see in the rocks the cooled magma,” McGeehan said.

“We saw the firsthand effects of glacial erosion and wind erosion at the national park in our state,” she said. “Many of them had never been before so it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“We were able to do a lesson on adaptations and what animals are in Maine and our natural habitat that surrounds us,” McGeehan added.

She said an Acadia National Park ranger came to PCES about a month before the field trip and during the visit each class had its own ranger to serve as a guide as the students explored the high points of the park and traveled down to the beach.

“Really they have got the best opportunity in the country to learn science firsthand,” McGreehan said about the natural resources in Maine.

Photos courtesy of PCES grade 5-6 teacher Peggy Cleaves
A JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICAN HISTORY — Grade 5 students at Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford took a journey back in time by studying American history and then applying what they learned through a play performed for their families and the community last month. “A Journey Through American History,” which included singing and dancing pieces, covered a timespan from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War.

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