Student Journalism Spotlight:
Bringing History to Life at Burford District Elementary School


FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2023


oday I am going to talk about War of 1812 Day, an exciting day of learning for students in Grade 6 and 7 at Burford District Elementary School (BDES).

Above: An example showing how muskets were concealed from the opposing team.

The day brought together Mrs. Stuart’s and Mr. Mann’s classes, participating in re-enacting the War of 1812. Both classes have been learning about this war for the past couple of months. Here’s what they did that day: when students first arrived at school, they went into their classrooms and did attendance and listened to announcements as usual. But then, after announcements, they got their outside stuff on – snow pants, coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc. It was time to go outside. When they first got outside, students lined up in their team lines (American and British). The Americans lined up on the left side of the big soccer field and the British lined up on the right side of the big soccer field. This is the British flag pattern. Normally, there would have been a general and two sergeants, but one sergeant on each team was away that day. So each team had one sergeant at the end of the line. After they were all lined up in the middle of the soccer field, they marched out back to the forest like they had been practicing. 

Everybody but the cooks went outside and marched to the forest – the cooks stayed inside to prepare and check on the soup. While students in Mr. Mann’s class and Mrs. Stuart’s class still came in and had regular lunch breaks and recesses, the second break was a little bit different. They got to eat the vegetable soup and some people baked bannock and johnnycake, which are two historic foods, so they got to eat that as well.     

Above: Bannock and johnnycakes provided a delicious way to learn about history.

Now let’s talk about what they did back in the forest. They started with the laborers going and getting a tarp for the camp. After each team set up their camp, it was time for roll call. Roll call is where the general marches the team over to where they do the roll call, and then the general moves down the line, saying ‘roll call.’ Each person says their name and all the information about them. Every student had a different name and information on a card that they had to memorize. For example, one person's name was Sargent James Fitzgibbon, and then they would have information about their character’s life. 

Now about each side's camp: for the camps, each team would have a tarp to build some sort of tent to keep the muskets safe from the opposing team. This is where they kept their muskets. For the muskets, they used wooden sticks. They only used the muskets when marching. The tent was where the British were attacked by the Americans on that day. The British had to guard the muskets as hard as they could. 

The day ended with some games of capture the flag. This capture the flag game was a bit different than normal. When you are playing the normal capture the flag game, you tag people. But in this capture the flag, they were wearing a flag football flag that had to actually be captured. So that was the War of 1812 Day for the Grade 6/7s. It was a great way to learn about history.

StudentJournalismSpotlightFrame-March2023-2023-03-31-thumb.jpgAbout the Author

Breanne Pike is a Grade 6 student at Burford District Elementary School. She put her writing and reporting skills to work to cover the inspiring learning happening at her school. She is pictured here in red to the right, with friend Elyse on the War of 1812 re-enactment day.

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