FULTON - Fairley Elementary School fourth-graders Haudenosaunee knowledge was put to the test for a recent Merry-Go-Round Playhouse performance of “The Keeper’s Voice.”
The interactive performance in the school cafeteria included the fourth-graders participation as members of the five original nations: Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca as they helped the characters learn peace and equal rights. Prior to the performance, the actors spent time in each fourth-grade classroom reviewing the storyline and key Native American facts, all of which the students learned during their Haudenosaunee academic unit.
Students were encouraged by the actors to pay attention to classroom lessons because they would be quizzed during the show. Having already learned about the Haudenosaunee culture, the fourth-graders were able to share that peace was greater than war because of preservation of life, strength in numbers and the importance of trade. Actor Shane Neidecker reminded the students that like the Haudenosaunee people, they, too, can use their powerful voice to make positive changes.
The event served as a culmination activity for the academic unit. Teacher Valerice Stuart said throughout the lessons, the fourth-graders wrote about and created wampum belts with symbols which reflected their classrooms. An optional family project was also offered where the students could create a longhouse with their siblings and parents or guardians, to engage the family in fourth-grade learning.