POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. -- Unpredictable winter weather can make travel to a museum challenging, but it also makes this season a perfect time for an in-school presentation from the “Colonial Man,” Sam Ladley, who recently brought the museum to Pocantico Hills School students.
The interactive program for Pocantico Hills fourth-graders kept he students riveted as it supported their ELA and social studies curriculum while bringing colonial days to life.
Fourth-grade teachers Amie Doane and Dawn Lebenson feel the program is invaluable and has stood the test of time.
“Every year, the students are spellbound by his presentation,” said Doane. “Mr. Ladley brings the colonial period alive for the students, and in a way that they can understand and internalize, with no apps, computers, or iPads.”
Ladley, dressed in colonial garb, presented a quick-paced lecture using dozens of artifacts to demonstrate his instruction, choosing from tables full of period tools, clothing, animal skins and weapons, according to a release from the Pocantico Hills Central School District.
For instance, without scissors, which were rare, people cut their hair by using an axe, the students learned from Ladley's presentation. And since forks weren't available at the time, people used knifes to eat.
The students also learned that that colonists, especially farmers, wore wooden shoes, as well as that a yoke was something that children wore on their shoulders to carry buckets of water from the stream to their house.
The morning-long program ended with two hands-on projects. During the candle-making workshop, students learned firsthand how laborious it was to make a candle. In a two-step process, a string has to be dipped into wax countless times to produce a candle, according to the release.
They also experienced writing a letter using a quill pen and black ink.
Ladley lived in the Hudson Valley for years, but now his home state is Maine. He holds degrees in public speaking and history from Emerson College in Boston, and has been “Colonial Man” for nearly 20 years.