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Sixth Grade Ushers in Thanksgiving Break with Annual Heritage Day

During+Heritage+Day%2C+sixth+graders+Winni+Cox%2C+Claire+Dinh%2C+and+Ellie+Bickel+join+lower+school+science+teacher+Mrs.+Susan+Bickel+in+admiring+the+craftsmanship+of+one+of+the+quilts+the+students+sewed.+
During Heritage Day, sixth graders Winni Cox, Claire Dinh, and Ellie Bickel join lower school science teacher Mrs. Susan Bickel in admiring the craftsmanship of one of the quilts the students sewed.

During Heritage Day, sixth graders Winni Cox, Claire Dinh, and Ellie Bickel join lower school science teacher Mrs. Susan Bickel in admiring the craftsmanship of one of the quilts the students sewed.

Mr. Crisafi

Mr. Crisafi

During Heritage Day, sixth graders Winni Cox, Claire Dinh, and Ellie Bickel join lower school science teacher Mrs. Susan Bickel in admiring the craftsmanship of one of the quilts the students sewed.

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Every year on the day before Thanksgiving Break, the sixth grade organizes an event called Heritage Day. Students are assigned two projects for this event. In English class, students create a “Coming to America” journal about one of their ancestors’ journey to the United States.  Students also have the choice to bring in food to reflect the culture of the country from which their ancestors traveled.  In history class, students create items for display that relate to Colonial America. They do this with the guidance of artists from the Center for Creative Education (CCE), a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen the presence of the arts in classrooms throughout Palm Beach County.

Mr. Crisafi
Sixth grader Owen Williams works on his “Coming to America” journal in Mrs. Kirkman’s English class.

This year in their history classes, the sixth graders were tasked with researching, designing, and creating what the daily aspects of life were like in Colonial America. They created 3D posters about certain regions in pre-Colonial and Colonial America, and also sewed their own quilt patches “The patches were supposed represent people coming together and working towards one goal,” said sixth grader Phillip Harris. Part of the reason the students took on the project of sewing is because, during the Colonial Period, sewing was an important job and pastime, and one of the reason people would gather and socialize.

In terms of the posters, they consisted of white wooden images, such as the Castillo de San Marcos and the state of Massachusetts, mounted on a large black piece of poster board. The students then typed, cut out, and pasted facts and pictures relating to that region of Colonial America onto the poster board. All of the sixth grade groups received guidance from a professional artist from the CCE in the form of materials and advice to ensure that the sixth-grade projects met their full potential.

“First you have to research your project and then have it checked by Mrs. Quigley,” said sixth grader Matias Saiz. “Once Mrs. Quigley gives you the clear, you can move on and create your final project.”

The sixth-grade students also worked hard on their “Coming to America” journals in the weeks leading up to Heritage Day. In their English classes,

Mr. Crisafi
Zoe Cooper visits the dessert table during the feast in Mrs. Quigley’s room.

students were tasked with either describing the journey of one of their ancestors or a fictional character students created. Students only used a fictional character if they did not know much information about their ancestors.  Each student wrote his or her journal in a first-person narrative as if the student were the ancestor. The designs of the journals were supposed to represent an immigrant’s journal in the 20th century or earlier, with each student being awarded extra credit for writing their journals in cursive.

“The ‘Coming to America’ project is a great way for students to extend their techniques of learning about history, and the history art projects help students extend their understanding of the social, cultural, and daily lifestyle of colonists in colonial America,” said sixth grade history teacher Mrs. Pamela Quigley, who, along with sixth-grade English teacher Mrs. Susan Kirkman, organized this year’s Heritage Day.

  On Tuesday, November 21, students displayed their quilts and posters in the quad so that their family and friends who had been invited to campus could see their artistic  presentations. The students discussed their artwork and answered questions.  After that, the sixth-grade students and their guests were invited to a feast in Mrs. Quigley’s room featuring all of the food that students brought in honoring their ancestors. There was authentic English tea served in a beautiful ceramic teapot, Italian cannolis, German cakes and bratwurst, Indian chicken curry, and so much more. It was the feast before the feast of Thanksgiving, and the students were dismissed with their parents at 1:00 p.m, two hours before regular dismissal to begin their Thanksgiving celebrations early.

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Sixth Grade Ushers in Thanksgiving Break with Annual Heritage Day