The 5th and 6th grade class at Fort Scott Christian Heights participated in a 1865 reenactment during their study of the Civil War.
Students spent Tuesday at the farm of their teacher, Mrs. Shead. After a day of preparing for the dinner, the students wrote a realistic scenario for their parents to act out, using terms and names they learned in their Civil War study. Then they dressed in costumes of that era. When parents arrived, they joined the students for an evening reenactment, acting as relatives who were coming to a dinner in hopes of reuniting their divided family Like many families, especially in Kansas, this entire family is divided with hurtful and devastating memories of the recent war.
Larry and Vickie Shead, acted as the slave owners who once had slaves on their farm. Recently, according to the drama being portrayed, they had to release their slaves at end of the war. In the absence of slaves, their 13 siblings (the students) prepared the meal and served their guests using proper hosting and etiquette.
The guests, playing the part of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, joined the drama as the Shead’s attempted to heal the family from the pain brought about by words, bullets, burning of homes, and even death. During the evening the group attempted to put the past behind them. Conflict ensued when Shead’s sons arrive home during the evening; one son having fought for the Union and the other for the Confederacy. More emotions emerged when a messenger announced the news of Abraham Lincoln’s death.
The entire day allows the students to explore a wide range of cross-curriculum studies. Not only did they receive a crash course in home economics where they learned about meal planning, cooking, etiquette rules in serving, proper table setting, and the necessary clean up, but they also polished up on their writing skills as they developed a realistic, historical role for their parents to act out when they arrived. In these scenarios, they were required to use at least 12 names and terms of the Civil War. The incorporated history they learned was mixed into the evening drama, complete with costumes, and played out throughout the evening. Then at the close of the evening, the students took an oral test of the facts, names, events, and battles they have studied, allowing the parents to see the excitement and what the students have learned.
This Civil War saga is a great conclusion to their unit study. This is the eighth year that Mrs. Shead has done this activity with her students.