Life of a Soldier

Middle School Head Teacher Ms. Erica became “Sergeant Sherlock” to show her students a day in the life of a Confederate soldier during the Civil War Era. Says Ms. Erica: “It was the greatest day of my entire teaching career.”
E1 Student Matthew Myers recounts the empathy lesson (“Confederate Instructional Training”) in a recent blog post:

“Tuesday came as a shock to all the middle school students when Sergeant Sherlock marched in. We all took it as a joke . We laughed but soon stopped when two kids were given laps (me and Hayden). Today was a day to see what it was like to be a soldier in the Civil War. Even though the  purpose of this activity was to see how bad the soldiers lives were, we still had fun. One reason it was fun was because of all the amazing parents that came out to help and our amazing teacher, Sergeant Sherlock, for putting this event all together.

Sergeant Sherlock divided the class into four regiments with five “recruits” in each regiment.  After marching from school to the park we had to make hardtack, a dense cracker made of flour and water. There were four stations.  My regiment’s first station had to set up a tent with a wooden pole, some stretchy fabric, nails, clothes pins, and rocks that would fit at least 20 soldiers and their gear. Second station we had to  create a sling for our wounded soldier with two broken arms. Next we broke for lunch.  We got to eat fresh hardtack which was exactly like its name. When soldiers would eat hardtack they would soak it in water to get bugs out of it and to soften it. Third station we packed our supplies and carried them about fifty feet. The backpack weighed on average 40 pounds for my group (the Charlie regiment). Fourth station we had to make a stretcher and carry our wounded soldiers to the “hospital.”

All through these stations we were given punishments like push ups or sit ups or even laps around the park for disobeying orders or failing at a task. If a real Civil War soldier showed weakness or tried to flee, they would be shot. At the end of the day we reflected how all of these brave soldiers fought for one belief. I could never imagine ever doing that.  I respect all the brave soldiers  and what they endured for their beliefs. Thank you parents and Ms. Erica for a day to remember.”

Additional thoughts from E1 Students: