5th Graders take field-trip ‘to remember’ their entire lives

Recently, Killdeer Elementary School 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Ashlynn Helfrich, sat down with Mrs. Vettel, Mrs. Carlson, Mrs. Schettler to brainstorm ideas about wonderful childhood fieldtrips that children would always remember. They concluded that one of their fondest memories was the Pioneer school day.

The first task was finding a venue. “We called Dunn Center, and Kathy jumped at the idea of letting us use her school house at the museum. We were so excited, but then we had to find the perfect teacher to make the day complete. Immediately, Donna Knutson, an excellent retired teacher, came to our minds. I called her and she was in!!” Ashlynn recalled. The next step was to formulate a plan.

Mrs. Vettel, the master mind behind it all, organized the schedule, planned the crafts, and taught the discipline, along with Knutson. The kids pounded nails into tin cans and put a candle inside to make a lantern. She made homemade bread and had the kids make homemade butter. Some of the punishments were holding books, sitting with a dunce hat, or putting nose against the wall. Also, they demonstrated the ruler slap if they needed to be re-directed.

Donna Knutson would play Isabelle Flynn, the first teacher in that school house. She would teach the key lessons, give history, rules, and run the day. “She was waiting on the steps with her bell when the kids arrived. She was amazing, and if the tradition continues, we hope she will join the adventure again!” stated Ashlynn. She made the kids stand when they were speaking, talked about stories, and treated the children exactly how they would be- –even asking if anyone brought a baked potato to put in the furnace to be cooked for lunch!

Mrs. Wheeling and Mrs. Andersen braided the girls’ hair who needed it done, and also poured water out of a can for all the students when thirsty.

Mrs. Ashlynn Helfrich said, “I taught the kids some facts during Social Studies in school. “I gave the students forms for what to wear and what to bring for lunch. I approved all dress attire, lunch boxes, and lunches. I also taught a spelling bee with an old fashion spell off.”

Darcy Schettler was the go to girl for what to wear, eat, lunch boxes etc. She also organized the games. The kids played drop the hankie, chain tag, and tug of war with a rope that one of the “rich” students brought.

Mrs. Carlson found real-life kids that came here in the past and studied their stories. She then gave each 5th grader a name along with a story. “These stories told us who was related, poor, rich, etc. This was really cool for the students because they really got to play out their character,” Ashlynn stated. She also helped the students with the tin projects and drove the bus. The children were dropped off a mile from the school house, so they actually walked to school that day.

Ashlynn exclaimed, “Everything was authentic, and the kids did a wonderful job! The parents had their kids dressed perfectly and packed perfect lunches. We hope to get the chance to do it again next year! We couldn’t have picked a better class than this year’s 5th graders!”


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