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Monday January 14, 2019 at 3:55pm Age: 218 days
Category: Intermediate, Minisink Elementary


Today was a big day for Mrs. Connors and Mrs. Carr’s fourth graders. Or, as student Matthew Allen plainly put it, “We got to explain what we did so it didn’t get wasted.”

Minisink Valley students in grades K-2 came to watch their fourth grader counterparts present on the communities and way of life of Native American Nations of upstate New York, in the 16-17 centuries.

Using an impressive range of materials, students imagined and crafted village models for the Haudenosaunee ("People of the Longhouse”), named Iroquois by the French, and also known as Five Nations. The students prepared notes on index cards to help them through their presentations to the younger classes.

“I was a bit nervous, worried that my village might not be good enough, but now I feel good about it,” said fourth-grader Jack Kupercus. “I had a lot of customers,” he added, referring to his visitors.

Jack had nothing to worry about. His village was as thoughtful and creative as any, and he was exceptionally knowledgeable and articulate in his explanation of his project. He also had this appreciation for the People of the Longhouse: “They were brave, strong and courageous.”

Ava Sasco was ready to answer questions that weren't even part of her supporting notes, like the family structure of the Native Nations. “The women farmed and took care of the children. The men went hunting and taught the boys to hunt too,” Ava said without hesitation.

Anthony Marasco was equally impressed with the Native Nations’ resourceful ways. “They made all their stuff, people didn’t make it for them,” he said.

After their visitors parted and they put away their villages, students in Mrs. Carr’s class could be heard saying, “This was a lot of fun!” “Yes, this was cool!”

Mrs. Connors asked her students how they felt about their presentations. They offered one-word answers: Confident. Surprised. Excited. “Nervous because you don’t get to present every day,” one student noted. “I felt like I was presenting to the news,” another added. “But how do you feel now?” Mrs. Connors insisted. Good, proud, they said—with good reason!