17 November, 2010

Land ho! We have arrived!

Our class has surely had a ball sailing on The Mayflower.  We have endured fierce storms (day after day after day), seasickness and other illnesses, tossing seas, crowded conditions, and cold food.  It has been quite a trip!

Today however, we heard our captain, Christopher Jones, call out something we have been waiting and waiting to hear, "Land ho!"

Yes, we have finally arrived in the New World, Plimoth (now spelled Plymouth).  We are so glad to be here!  Imagine our surprise and dismay, however, when we realize there is nothing here waiting for us.  There are no friends from Jamestown (as we didn't actually make it there), no homes, no warm beds, and not much food.  Mostly what we see is snow.  Yes, it is November of 1620, and we have much work to do!  We got right to work building a home.  (Good thing we packed all those tools on The Mayflower!)

First we cut down some trees!  Then we got to work "nailing" them together.  (This was actually lots of banging on the big cardboard box, but the children really got into playing the parts of those hard working Pilgrims.)

One of the students took it upon himself to bring all the supplies we had carefully packed onto The Mayflower, over to our new house.  After about 6 trips, he was satisfied.  He brought over the food supplies (salt horse and dried peas and beans), the ship's bell, the golden cape (his favorite dress up item), the babies, a few blankets, and plenty of dishes and cooking utensils.
What a lot of work!
Here is our Mayflower.  As you can see, everything has been removed from it!

A couple of other boys undertook the task of making the fireplace because they were surely tired of eating cold food.  They used one of the off cuts of the cardboard which they then colored with markers.  They added a hook (with the help of a teacher and a little duct tape) so they could cook food over the open fire.

Later on, the fire burned a bit brighter as the flames were enhanced with a little construction paper and yellow tape.  The inside of the house saw a lot of Pilgrim activity as you can see from this picture.  I also just noticed one of our babies is lying face down in the back left corner of the house.  It must have been some Pilgrim party in there.  : )

I cleaned up a bit after the children went home, and set up a little Pilgrim house scene for the next day, hoping to inspire slightly less chaotic play.  It worked for awhile.  I think once the initial novelty of the house wears off a bit, the children will be able to play in here in different ways.

Our house also has a small window.   The children really like opening and closing it.  That might actually be their favorite part of the whole house.

The children also made a path from tree blocks today, leading up to the Plimoth home.  It was a tricky path to maneuver, but I guess it was worth it to the Pilgrims as hot food was waiting for them once the arrived inside.

My favorite observation of the children building and playing Pilgrim so far, occurred today.  One of our students was sitting alone in the house with a group of forest animal puppets surrounding her.  She was singing and caring for them as they were not feeling particularly "good."  Neighboring Pilgrim tea party goers (eating and drinking just outside the house) was dutifully being very quiet so as not to disturb the "babies."  How sweet.

I'm hoping Squanto may arrive in Plimoth tomorrow, and help the Pilgrims plant some "3 sisters" crops (which include corn, beans, and squash.)  We have role played the arrival of Samoset and Squanto (and the help they and their people gave the Pilgrims) a bit during our Circle time, so hope springs eternal!  Oh well, whatever scenarios the children are acting out, they are actively engaged in learning!

What is your favorite dramatic play activity?


  1. Can I come join your classroom? Learning about pilgrims sounds awesome. Oh, and next year, you should have a "3 sisters" seed sorting activity, that will be coming your way in January! (maybe sooner)

  2. FUN! I love the house and the path they made!
    Thanks for stopping by!

    As far as incorporating the tree art...they could just do bare trees if all the leaves are already gone where you live OR wait a bit and add *snow* on their trees :)

    happy day!

  3. Hi, just love those mushrooms, thanks for looking at my blog, cheers from New Zealand, Marie


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