Studying Scotland transforms third-graders at Bakerfield School HARFORD COUNTY

February 14, 1993|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

For an afternoon, Kathleen M. Walker's classroom was transformed into the Bakerfield Cafe in Scotland. And 25 third-graders turned into young ladies and gentlemen.

Students, many of them wearing their Sunday best, greeted their parents at the door, took their coats and and escorted them to seats. After inquiring solicitously about their parents' health, the 8- and 9-year-olds served their parents tea and shortbread cookies.

"If you lived in Scotland, things would be different from living in Aberdeen," Chris Smoot, 8, explained to his mother Donna. "In Scotland, they say biscuits when they mean cookies," he said. Pointing to a poster in the back of the room, he listed Scottish terms, like petrol, and their American counterparts, like gasoline.

Mrs. Walker, a teacher at Bakerfield Elementary in Aberdeen, said her students gave the afternoon tea as part of a foreign cultures unit. Scotland was a natural choice for the unit, she said, because she had traveled there and because she could call on the services of a Scottish friend, Louise Fagan.

Mrs. Fagan, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, said she has lived in Aberdeen for about 20 years.

"I enjoyed sharing my childhood with the students," she said in a lilting Scottish brogue. The classroom was decorated in a Scottish theme -- everything from books by the Scottish poet Robert Burns to information on Scottish clans and tartans.

Mrs. Walker, who always addresses her students as "ladies and gentlemen," said the cultures class provided ample practice in writing and spelling. Students created invitations, menus and poetry for the tea.

"Children also learned social skills, including courtesy, manners and cooperation, and that's important for self esteem," she said.

In the corner of the room, hostesses poured iced tea, from a china pot with blue flowers, into paper cups. Shortbread cookies, carefully arranged on doilies atop silver trays, completed the afternoon tea.

L The afternoon tea was a hit with students and their parents.

"We've been learning about Scotland and how they do things over there," said James Way, 9. Wearing a red tie and sports jacket, he showed his mother, Laura, the place mat he had designed for the occasion.

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