While digging around one of the many Thanksgiving websites that pop up on teacher sites this time of year, I discovered a few pieces of sound that would be more at home about 380 years ago. The Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, MA that recreates the time period of the early Pilgrims, has a section of their site dedicated to kids. While most of it is the typical “print me out and color me” worksheets and Pilgrim-esque activities you can do at home, one page was an aural treat.
The Talk Like a Pilgrim page has more than a dozen audio clips of various greetings, words, and sayings as Pilgrims would have said them. Instead of simply saying “Hi, how are you”, you can hear clips of historical re-enactors saying “good morrow” and “how do you fare?”. Common words such as “cat” and “backwards” become “mouser” and “arsy varsy” (don’t say that one too fast). I enjoyed clicking through the different sayings, and then it occurred to me; if there was some way to capture the audio, it would be fun to include them in a class podcast and/or computer project about the Pilgrims.
Or you could write up a paragraph or two about life on the plantation and replace our modern English with the the more common English of the time. Something along the lines of “I had to feed the mouser yesterday, so I took one of the pottage bowls and laid it by the hearth with some food in it. The kittens were a bit cold, so I got an extra pillowbere for them to snuggle down in…” You get the idea; it would be a fun listening, reading, and writing activity. You could extend it by having the students write about a typical day in their life using the Pilgrim phrases instead of their own, or go one step further, and even encourage the kids to talk like a Pilgrim. At the very least, it would provide a much needed chuckle or two at a time when many of us need a little something to relieve the tension of holiday jitters in the kids.