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Rostraver kindergarten students find the '50s fabulous

| Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

At first glance, the kindergarten classes at Rostraver Elementary School recently might have resembled a junior version of “Grease.”

All dressed in bobby socks and leather jackets, the young students were just playing the part for '50s day. It was not marking the generation that brought us Elvis and Ike, but the 50th day of the school year.

Still, the special day initially conceived a couple years ago by teacher Ashley Bergamasco, a kindergarten teacher for six years, utilizes the number 50 as well as the decade of the '50s to enhance teaching.

The '50s day has now spread to all kindergarten classes, numbering about 100 students.

“The 50th day was my idea, and it spread like wildfire once the other teachers saw it,” Bergamasco said.

The '50-ish curriculum covered such subjects as reading/vocabulary, math, The students played the game called ‘“The Sock Hop.” The game taught the students to recognize vocabulary words from the weekly reading, which they pulled from cards. If they pulled the sock hop card, they danced.

The students watched a video clip of a sock hop.

In another exercise, students rolled dice, charting their rolls on a card until they counted to 50.

Another lesson had students identify an item in a picture and then identify the letter of the alphabet with which the word began.

The teachers and students held a history discussion comparing life in the 1950s as compared to today.

A hula hoop contest was also held “strictly for fun.”

The students and teachers dressed in 1950s-period clothing.

“For the little ones it's a long day, especially with all-day kindergarten, so any twist we can put on the day makes learning even more fun for them,” Bergamasco said. “We were doing the same activities, just tailored it to the 50th day of school, and letting them dress up made it fun for them.”

Bergamasco said it was amusing to hear the young students refer to each other with such '50s terms as “greasers” or “pink ladies.”

She said students saw video from the era, leading to at least one humorous question. “The funniest thing was when a student asked if there was color (in the world) back then because all they saw on TV was black and white,” Bergamasco said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or