With May being Osceola History Month, we thought it might be fun to highlight some ideas on how to celebrate the heritage of our hometown with your students. Who doesn’t want to try their hand at a little butter making or cracker house constructing? Not only are these ideas great for all ages, but with 4th grade’s focus on Florida history, connecting these ideas to the standards is easy for any teacher to do.
1. Build a Cowboy Camp.
2. Make Cowboy Caviar Salsa.
What better way to celebrate a little Osceola History with a fun snack to share in the classroom? You will need 1 can drained black eyed peas, 1 can drained corn, 2 large diced tomatoes, 1 diced green bell pepper, 1/2 large chopped red onion, 1 small can crushed pineapple, 1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients well and serve with nacho chips and a tall glass of cold lemonade or sweet tea.
3. Construct a Cowboy Cracker House.
Give students some graham cracker sticks, peanut butter, and pretzels and let them go to town constructing their own edible Cowboy Cracker House. Fun Fact: The term "cracker" is linked to early Florida cattle herders that traditionally used whips to herd wild Spanish cattle. The crack of the herders' whips could be heard for great distances and were used to round cattle in pens and to keep the cows on a given track.
4. Make some butter.
If you didn’t know, Kissimmee was once dubbed “Cow Town” for our abundance of cattle. What better way to put to use the milk from these cows than to churn a little butter? You can do this in your classroom with three simple ingredients: a carton of heavy whipping cream, a glass jar and some water. Pour the cream in the jar, screw the lid on tight and start shaking. You can have the students pass the jar around the room, taking their turn at shaking it. As they do this they will notice a change in the consistency of the cream and a solid ball of butter will begin to form. When done, you can pour the remaining buttermilk out and rinse the newly formed butter in cold water. Slather on a slice of bread and you’ve got a great afternoon snack! This is one of our favorite things to do with school groups who visit the Osceola County Historical Society!
5. Practice journal writing with quill pens.
Finding time to practice good penmanship in the classroom these days is hard to come by, but linking it to a little language arts and history lesson is a great way to do it. Have students practice writing friendly letters to each other using homemade feather quills. Just take one feather per student (purchased from a local craft store), cut the tip at a slant and then cut a small vertical slit up the tip. Use black tempera paint and show the students how to dip it in the paint and then write.
6. Go on chocolate chip cookie excavations.
Simulate an in-class excavation using chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal raisin cookies to model how archaeologists find information from our past through these scientific digs. All you need is a paper towel, toothpick and a cookie for each student and you are good to go. Older students can also practice graphing coordinates of their finds as an extension of the lesson.
7. Choose one day to be Osceola Spirit Day.
Get your whole school involved this month and pick a day to be Osceola Spirit Day. Teachers, students and staff can dust off their boots and come dressed as their favorite cowboy, cowgirl or pioneer in honor of Osceola’s unique past.