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Posts Tagged ‘St. Francisville’

Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Celebration time is just around the corner. It’s moving in quickly with the cold front.  My dining table is full of gifts and wrapping paper.  Soon the gifts will be under the tree and my dining table will be clean and ready for family to gather.  How will I ever get it all done?  I ask myself this question every year, and every year, I manage to be ready for the celebration.

In our classrooms, the students are anxious and antsy.  They have more difficultly focusing.  When my colleagues and I began planning a field trip for December 16th, I thought we were nuts to do it so close to Christmas break when the weather (literally and figuratively) changes daily.  It turned out to be the perfect time.

On Friday, the weather was cool but not cold, cloudy but not raining as we set out at 6:30 AM on a charter bus heading to St. Francisville, Louisiana to the Myrtles Plantation, one of the top haunted mansions in the US.  The stories of the “little spirits” both intrigued and frightened my students.  I have to admit I was a little unsettled when I heard ticking coming from the old desk I was standing next to.

Our next stop was the cemetery of Grace Episcopal Church.  This cemetery is a beautiful place with draping oaks and old graves.  Our students made gravestone rubbings that we will later use for a research/writing project.

Gravestone rubbings at Grace Episcopal Cemetery, St. Francisville, LA.

Gravestone rubbings at Grace Episcopal Cemetery, St. Francisville, LA.

Grace Episcopal Cemetery

Grace Episcopal Cemetery

Taking students outside the classroom is an effort in planning, making reservations, arranging payment, yet every time we do it, I realize how important it is to get us outside and into the world. We traveled northeast to Natchez, MS. to visit the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, run the mounds, and learn about the ways of the original Americans. We walked the old Natchez Trace and visited an old inn.

Indian mounds at the Grand Village, Natchez, MS.

Indian mounds at the Grand Village, Natchez, MS.

Walking the old Natchez Trace.

Walking the old Natchez Trace.

When we return from our winter break, we will revisit this field trip and turn our learning experience into digital posts and presentations. But, for now, I celebrate the opportunity to take students out of the classroom and into an earlier time and place to learn and play together.

I will be taking a holiday break from DigiLitSunday. Come back on January 8th.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Today is Celebration Saturday over at Ruth Ayres’ Site, Discover, Play, Build.

Yesterday was a wonderful fall day! The air was clear and crisp. A perfect day for a field trip. The gifted program for our district takes the 4th-6th graders on a field trip every other year to St. Francisville, LA and Natchez, MS. Early Friday morning at 6 AM, our students and teachers, along with some parent and grandparent chaperones, boarded a chartered bus and headed north to St. Francisville.

atchafalaya sunrise

In St. Francisville, we toured the haunted Myrtles Plantation home. One of the stories we heard was about a slave who had her ear cut off. This ghost apparently steals earrings, actually takes only one for her remaining ear, and is especially fond of hoop earrings. And sure enough, one of the moms had on hoop earrings. One was gone, Poof!, by the end of the tour. I had the freezons, which is Cajun for chills.

Students pose at the outdoor fountain.

Students pose at the outdoor fountain.

After touring and walking the beautiful grounds of the Myrtles, we headed down the road to Grace Epicopal Church to their old cemetery. There the students did gravestone rubbings. Next week we will research these and write historical fiction stories.

Candice rubbinggravestone rubbing

In Natchez, we ate lunch on the grounds of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, and the kids had the chance to run up and down Indian mounds and learn about the pottery and basketry of the Natchez Indians. A favorite souvenir for my boys were arrowhead pendants.

Then on to Longwood Plantation. Longwood is an impressive site, the largest plantation home in Natchez; however, the only completed part is the basement. The Civil War broke out, and the owner died of pneumonia. His widow raised 8 children in the completed part of the basement which was only 10,000 square feet. Imagine the completed house would have been 30,000 sq. feet. You go up the stairs and can see the framework of the incomplete mansion. It is most fascinating. Again at this plantation, the students sketched. Back at school, they will compare and contrast the life of a child at each plantation we visited.

Longviewsketching at LongviewNigel sketching

Even though the trip was long and we didn’t get back home until 8:30 PM, the friendships made and nurtured as well as the history learned and appreciated made this field trip a valuable experience for everyone.

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