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‘Jeopardy!’ meets history at Valencia school

Posted: June 10, 2013 7:45 p.m.
Updated: June 10, 2013 7:50 p.m.

Fourth-grade teacher Lynn Shafarman, left, hands out time line cards of historical events during the "Gold Rush Days" event at Meadows Elementary School on Monday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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What do you get when you cross California history with “Jeopardy!”?

You get Meadows Elementary School fourth-graders celebrating their knowledge of California history knowledge in a friendly competition modeled after the long-running TV game show and some other games.

Called “Gold Rush Days,” the annual event has been going on at the Valencia elementary school for more than 10 years.

Answering questions “Jeopardy!” style and in other game styles, reordering a California time line and identifying artifacts, students showcase the knowledge they have acquired.

Fourth-grade teacher Michelle Shafarman led the day-long contest Monday. Each fourth-grader picked a California historical character to dress as and joined a team for the day.

“We looked up a picture of his character and then looked in our closet,” said Mary Jo Robinson, parent of the miniature Hernando Cortez, Lucas Robinson.

Each fourth-grade class gets a day off for the competition, and Monday was dedicated to Shafarman’s class of 30.

Sitting in the middle of an oval of chairs, Shafarman’s students took turns standing up to order colorful and laminated cards chronologically by the event that was written on their surfaces. Color-coded name tags flapped as the children worked together to organize the historical events and earn points.

“In the course of fourth grade, we study California history. This is a culmination and they get to show all that they know,” said Shafarman.

After the competition, the students are treated to a lesson in square dancing.

“I’m excited for square dancing,” said Makenna Hamrick, a student who was dressed as the first woman architect, Julia Morgan.

“She made Hearst Castle,” Hamrick said.

Two more classes of fourth-graders will dress up and participate in the Gold Rush Days this week, attracting volunteers and parents alike as the youngsters sum up their year of state history.



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