Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Education

Feast highlights Wider Horizons students' lessons on American Indians

SPRING HILL — The bowl of corn mush remained mostly full; only a few potlatch attendees broke the food's surface to bravely scoop out a taste. The bison stew fared better, but the hottest choices were the popcorn and corn on the cob.

Corn did seem to be prominently featured on the menu during Wider Horizons School's second- and third-grade potlatch, because maize was a staple to American Indians. A potlatch is an American Indian festival, and it was celebrated at the school as part of the classes' cultural studies.

Beginning in August, students were introduced to Cherokees, Pueblo people, pilgrims and the Ojibwa by second- and third-grade head teacher Theresa Urbanek, assisted by co-teacher Mary Mussselman. The children wrote papers and investigated American Indian culture — foods, clothing, arts, shelter, defense and an introduction to each group. They made slingshots.

The third-grade tribe, the Northwest, invited the second-grade tribe, the Southeast, to a harvest potlatch. Besides the mush and stew, popcorn and corn on the cob, the menu had beef jerky, unshelled peanuts, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries.

The two groups chose their own chiefs. Brandon Small, 9, was the third-grade chief; Christian Jones was chief for second grade. Chief Small welcomed his tribe's visitors.

The entertainment was a shawl dance done by the girls from both grades, while third-grader Jayden Marques played a drum. The boys were dressed in decorated vests, and the girls in flowing capes, some bearing cradleboards holding baby dolls.

Settled at tables, munching on their feast, some children shared what they have learned about American Indians or what they enjoyed about the potlatch.

"The interesting thing is that I love the shawl dance," said second-grader Jaidan Prickett, 8. "I would stare at it, and the chief was really, really good, and so was the visiting chief, and they spoke loud and they spoke clear, and I really liked them."

Second-grader Jacob Small, 8, said "I learned that this is what kind of food they eat."

He liked the food well enough, but admitted that if he had to eat that way all the time, he would miss pizza.

Second-grader Robert Teeters, 7, said his teachers wanted the students to learn about American Indians, "because, if we didn't know about them, we couldn't do this. We wouldn't know what kind of food (to eat)."

Third-grader Lauren McClelland, 8, mused similarly: "So you can learn more about them, so you can eat the type of food they used to grow."

Second-graders Makena Jorgensen, 7, and Lorelei Cherch, 7, mentioned the things they learned.

"They have different kinds of designs," said Makena.

"I learned they grow many kinds of plants," Lorelei said.

Angie Thomas, 7, simplified the reason to study American Indian culture.

"So you can know what they did," she said.

Comments
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Updated: 11 hours ago
50 years ago, Florida teachers walked off their jobs. Today’s union leaders are inspired

50 years ago, Florida teachers walked off their jobs. Today’s union leaders are inspired

Ulysses Floyd remembers February 1968 all too well.Teachers by the thousands walked off their jobs across Florida. Among their concerns: low pay, poor funding, a lack of planning time, missing materials, and more. "We were at the mercy of the School ...
Published: 02/19/18
ROTC leader shocked that accused school shooter 1 of his own

ROTC leader shocked that accused school shooter 1 of his own

PARKLAND, Fla. — The sound of gunfire still ringing in his ears after his mad half-mile sprint, Jack Ciaramello was standing with friends in a grocery store parking lot when a sheriff’s deputy approached. He asked the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High se...
Published: 02/18/18
From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

Some teachers left goodbye messages to their students on classroom blackboards. Others cleared their desks.It was Feb. 16, 1968, a Friday, and a sign of what was coming that Monday in Florida: the nation’s first statewide teachers strike.When schools...
Published: 02/18/18
Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High principal Ty Thompson exuded deep emotion and a positive view forward in his first public comments since Wednesday’s mass shooting that killed 17 people.In the two-minute video posted on the school’s website and YouTube,...
Published: 02/18/18
Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

TAMPA — "Elevate," a Hillsborough County School District initiative that was to focus on seven troubled schools and use them as models for dozens more, is becoming but a memory as the district seeks instead to support all schools equally."We’re more ...
Published: 02/17/18
Plant High students commemorate Parkland victims with sidewalk messages

Plant High students commemorate Parkland victims with sidewalk messages

TAMPA — Students at Plant High School honored the victims of the Parkland school shooting with a series of sidewalk chalk messages.The chalk art carried a series of messages such as "How many times?" and "Do something. Protect us." according to a Fac...
Published: 02/16/18
At public schools in Tampa Bay, a day to mourn, assess and reinforce

At public schools in Tampa Bay, a day to mourn, assess and reinforce

While fielding calls from anxious parents after the Broward County high school shooting that claimed 17 lives, school officials in the Tampa Bay area took a close look Thursday at what they are doing to keep students safe.There are gates and locks an...
Published: 02/15/18
Joe Henderson: April Griffin won’t run again for school board. She says she means it this time.

Joe Henderson: April Griffin won’t run again for school board. She says she means it this time.

Assuming April Griffin follows through on her decision not to seek re-election to the Hillsborough County School Board, well, meetings just won’t be the same. Chances are they’ll just be filled with boring reports, proclamations and routine business....
Published: 02/15/18
‘I don’t get paid for teaching,’ says Pinellas teacher accused of inappropriate acts. Now he’s gone

‘I don’t get paid for teaching,’ says Pinellas teacher accused of inappropriate acts. Now he’s gone

A St. Petersburg High teacher has retired in the middle of the school year after students said he called them "baby," "babe," "missy," "honey," "sweetie," "little girl" and ended one girl’s name with "-licious."The Pinellas County school district fou...
Published: 02/15/18