From the moment they walked into their classrooms and saw that all the desks had been moved and replaced with two gender-specific benches, third-graders at Glenelg Country School knew they were in another world.
On Wednesday, 54 pupils learned about spinning wool, made tussy mussies and snacked on hasty pudding and candied orange peels during Colonial Day, which was the culmination of a three-month lesson on the 13 Colonies and early Maryland history.
"The children actually get to live what they learn," said Deb DeVoe, third-grade teacher and organizer of the annual event. "All learning is time-on-task - they get to do it."
Pupils, staff members and parent volunteers all got into the act, wearing traditional Colonial garb.
The children were not allowed to bring in their normal book bags. Instead, they had to cart around baskets.
There was plenty for them to do. Pupils got to pet a pony, a donkey, a lamb and other farm animals. They also got a chance to churn butter.
"They were fascinated with the animals," DeVoe said.
Fred Taylor, an actor who was dressed as a squire, traveled around the school grounds in a horse-drawn buggy. He gave the pupils a lesson on life in Colonial Maryland.
One of the highlights, according to DeVoe, was when the pupils made tussy mussies, also known as bouquet holders.
"They were very excited," she said. "Some put the tussy mussies in their pockets and carried them around all day."
When it comes to sportsmanship in Howard County, Oakland Mills High School is in a class by itself.
The school was recently awarded the Sportsmanship Cup, which is given to a school based on a survey of county high school principals, athletic directors and coaches during three sports seasons.
The school was awarded an engraved trophy.
Howard High School and Reservoir High School were runners-up.
"It's just an effort that we have consciously made through the athletic program to be as accommodating and fair to every team that comes to our campus," said Dick Hendershott, the athletic director at Oakland Mills. "I think all the schools try to do that."
Oakland Mills dethroned Atholton, last year's winner and winner of three trophies since 2001.
"Obviously we're very pleased," said Hendershott. "It's the first time in school history. My hat goes off to the coaches and students in this school."
A Green School
St. John's Parish Day School in Ellicott City was one of 24 schools statewide recognized Wednesday as Green Schools for their commitment to the environment by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.
The 450-pupil school, which teaches preschool through fourth grade, was honored for its variety of programs, including growing a vegetable garden that correlated with each letter of the alphabet, starting a recycling program, maintaining a meadow near the school and establishing a bluebird trail.
"The children have really enjoyed it," said Sharon Runge, director of development at the school. "They've become a little bit more of advocates. The children are learning some things at school and bringing them home."
Since 1999, Green School status has been awarded to 136 schools under a program developed by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, the State Department of Education, the state Department of Natural Resources, the state Department of the Environment, the governor's office and the Maryland Association of Student Councils.
Hammond Middle School in Laurel was one of 11 schools statewide recertified as a Green School this year.
Competing at bee
Joey Haavik, 10, a fifth-grader at Pointers Run Elementary School, did not get the chance to do a victory dance Thursday at the 79th Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington.
Joey incorrectly spelled novercal, which means relating to, or characteristic of a stepmother.
Joey, one of eight competitors from Maryland, competed against 275 pupils from across the country.