Webster goes colonial

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Fifth-graders at Webster Elementary School recently recreated Williamsburg, Va, 1775, during their in-depth study of American history.

Approximately 50 students in Rachel Smith and Kristina Cook’s classes studied colonial Williamsburg for several months, culminating in what was dubbed “Websterville,” a reenactment of Williamsburg’s famed Duke of Gloucester Street, set up in the school’s cafeteria.

The children learned what it was like to live in that time, studying housing, clothing, the types of trades people did, and speech and deportment. Each child was assigned a role, and a job in the town.

Websterville included several taverns, a wigmaker, blacksmith, silversmith, apothecary, militia and a cooper (barrel maker) among several occupations. The students dressed in costume, spoke in the manner of the day, and played their roles as other classes from Webster and fifth-graders from Our Lady of Malibu visited Websterville during the day of reenactment.

“It takes a lot of knowledge to create Websterville, and this group of kids did a great job of that,” said teacher Susan Cooley, who originated the idea of Websterville eight years ago with Bea Poole. “They really got into the thought process.

“We spend three months researching and understanding colonial America, and then it takes two full days to set up. It really does look like an authentic town.”

Many of the fifth-graders will actually visit Colonial Williamsburg-often called America’s largest outdoor history museum-on a trip this week, to complete their course of study.