Shayne Meismer, 11, shook cream inside a small jar vigorously.

“Come, butter, come. Come butter, come. Johnny’s waiting at the gate waiting for some buttered cake Come, butter, come,” she chanted with her peers.

It’s all part of being an 18th century child.

Shayne and the rest of the fifth-grade class at Our Lady of Victory Catholic School learned what life was like in the 1700s during the school’s annual Patriot’s Day on Wednesday.

“It’s just really different from what kids nowadays do,” she said. “Most kids now play on their electronics. Back then they contributed to the farm and played outside.”

Every year, the fifth-grade class spends one day putting what they learned in history class to practical use, social studies teacher Karen Frazier said.

The students even had personas and background stories to make a holistic experience, Frazier said.

“We want them to spend the day as an 18th century child,” she said.

Frazier, the other teachers, parent volunteers and the students dressed in 18th century clothing for the day. Women and girls wore long flowing dresses with floral patterns and bonnets adorned their heads. Boys ran around in pantaloons and stockings with coats and vests.

“The way that people dressed was really different,” said Shayne, who went by Catherine for the day. She wore a blue and white floor-length floral dress with a shawl around her shoulders and mop cap atop her head.

Douglas Matey, 10, wore beige knee-length pants with long white stockings and a blue and red coat. He wore an 18th century style hat and went by the name “John” for the day.

“I’m hot,” he said about his clothes. “But it’s way better than my regular school clothes.”

The day is a way for the social studies teachers to wrap up their unit on colonial communities, Frazier said.

During the morning, girls and boys were separated to learn their roles in the community for the given time period. The girls learned to embroider and how to hold a “proper” tea service. The boys learned military training and Latin, which was popular for the time, Frazier said.

In the afternoon, the students split into small groups of up to six students and went through stations of colonial activities. They learned to play jacks, make candles, butter and corn husk dolls to name a few.

As students rotated stations they would nod to each other and exchange greetings. They would nod and say, “good day to you,” before continuing on with their activities.

Douglas spent part of the afternoon making a pomander ball. He stuck cloves into an apple and then sprinkled it with cinnamon. The ball acts as an air freshener when they are hung in a window.

“Their lifestyle was completely different,” he said.

His favorite part of the afternoon was when he learned how to play marbles. This, he said, is something he can bring into the modern age.

Frazier said the school has held Patriot’s Day for the past 10 years. Her goal as an educator is to create an experience the students will never forget while teaching them moments of history.

“It brings it to life,” she said. “They are far more likely to remember if they are doing it. This is a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

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