Third-Grade Pioneers Travel Own Oregon Trail

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 2, 1999 | Go to article overview

Third-Grade Pioneers Travel Own Oregon Trail


Byline: Alyce Bartlett

Third-graders at Winfield Elementary School learned about the pioneer days by following the Oregon Trail.

And they concluded the 2,000-mile journey with a feast.

For nine weeks, starting in April, the wagon train "traveled," as third-grade teachers Alice Butler and Connie Smyth read to the class about the area it was traveling through, giving a description and telling about interesting sites.

As they learned about the Oregon Trail, the students kept personal diaries, writing about what they did or saw.

"Sometimes it was hard to write what happened," said third-grader Janell Lehman. "But I liked writing about different things, and especially Independence Rock."

Each boy made a belt and neckerchief, while each girl made an embroidered bonnet to wear.

The kids used natural dyes to make their clothing - spinach for green, beets for red and onions for yellow.

Megan Peterson and Theresa Clark had fun making their bonnets. Neither knew how to embroider, but Butler gave them lessons.

"You just had to make sure you didn't mess it up in the beginning," Megan said. "I made a pattern of hearts, flowers and my initials, and then embroidered the pattern."

"I kind of knew how to embroider," Theresa said. "You had to really use small stitches to sew the two parts together, but it was pretty easy once you got the hang of it."

At the end of their journey, the kids celebrated with a huge feast of corn bread muffins, chicken noodle soup, lemonade and poppyseed cake. …

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