Friday, May 19, 2000
Fifth-graders study region
Exhibition of mountain lore at Miami U.
By Jenny Callison
OXFORD In January, many of Pat Stephens' and Amy Gibson's students would have been hard-put to define Appalachia or find it on a map. After immersing themselves in Appalachian lore and culture, however, the Stewart School fifth-graders have learned much about the region, from its ecology to its economy.
Thursday evening, the students shared their knowledge in a program accompa nying the opening of their exhibit, Mountain Legacy: Appreciating Appalachia. The event took place in the Hiestand Galleries at Miami University.
The program included performances of Appalachian music and dance, accompanied by Oxford residents Warren and Judy Waldron on guitar, banjo and mandolin.
We learned that the banjo is a favorite instrument of Appalachia and came from West Africa, said class member Nicole Mull. The fiddle is also popular for dancing.
We did research about the instruments and talked to Delohn Collins, a clogger, added Alex O'Keefe. Then we talked with Geoff Eacker, who makes banjos. He loaned us a banjo for the exhibit.
Mr. Collins, a Butler County resident who clogs in national competitions, showed the students the basic footwork. Fifth-grader Kayla Kolb choreographed a dance for the demonstration cloggers to perform.
Emily Marron explained that her group studied plants and animals of the region, contributing items to the display that would be found along the Appalachian trail.
Other groups designed and built a small log cabin and a model of a coal mine.
Appreciating Appalachia was a complete integration of all subject areas, said Mrs. Stephens, who teaches at Miami University as well as at Stewart School.
The exhibit continues through May 25 and can be viewed at www.talawanda.net/stewart/fifth.htm.
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