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Archive for Thursday, February 18, 1999

SUNFLOWER STUDENTS STEP BACK IN TIME TO END HISTORY LESSON

February 18, 1999

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Sunflower students fool around with history.

It was a party fit for a king. And a queen, court jesters, gymnasts, jugglers, magicians and knights.

There were even damsels who swooned over jousters.

Wednesday, Sunflower School fifth- and sixth-grade students were transported from the 20th century to the Middle Ages, where they assumed the roles of spectators and participants at a joust.

Fifth-grader Chris Pagano was elected a court magician. He dabbles in the art in his spare time.

"I like to show people magic," he said.

Chris performed a card trick called the printer's dream. In the trick, blank cards magically become printed after a slight sleight of hand.

"I like to learn about history," he said. "I really liked the feudal system. It was interesting the way the whole system relied on trust and barter."

For sixth-grader Julia Szabo, playing a knight had its rewards. She won one joust, before losing in the second round.

"It's interesting to learn about people who lived so long ago," she said. "It was very different."

Teacher Kassie Shook said she wanted students to get a taste of what life was like hundreds of years ago.

"We tried to make it as authentic as possible, but it was a little up-to-date socially," she said. "We told them that back then only men would be knights, but now it's all right for girls to do it."

Wednesday's festival was the culmination of an entire unit on a period in history that is often roman ticized.

"The kids just love it. They love the drama," Shook said. "They're so excited they're saying, `What are we doing next?' We know if they ask that, we're doing what we're supposed to do, and with this every student can be involved."

After the joust students topped off the day with a feast, complete with archaic table manners. They ate with their hands and brought their own cups strapped to their waists.

-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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