Students study 1950s, changes since then

Payton TIpton continues numerous successive hula hoop rounds in the school’s gymnasium.

Payton TIpton continues numerous successive hula hoop rounds in the school’s gymnasium.

On the 50th day of the school year, almost 50 second-graders at Jefferson City's South Elementary studied the life and times of the 1950s with a sock hop, hula hoop contest and root beer floats.

The two-day study unit was a chance for the students to learn more about how U.S. transportation and communication has changed over time.

Some of the boys sported cuffed blue jeans and white t-shirts, and a few of the girls were garbed in poodle skirts and chiffon scarves. They started the day’s activities with a hula hoop contest on the floor of the school’s gymnasium.

“When the music starts, you have to move the body!” encouraged teacher Ashley Bremmerkamp.

And the kids certainly took their teacher’s message to heart.

One little boy, Zakury Foley, mastered the hoop right away, while others struggled to keep them in motion.

The girls seemed to have the inside spin. Raucous applause broke out when Payton Tipton, Claudia Golden and several other small girls took to the floor. Shaunta Adams particularly rocked the hoop.

Tipton admitted her blue poodle skirt — sewn years ago by her grandmother — got in the way.

“Whenever you try to pull the hula hoop up, the skirt comes up in the back,” she lamented.

But she said she wouldn’t really mind if life today were more like the 1950s, adding she really likes the fashions of that earlier era and loves the upbeat rock-and-roll music her teacher played while they worked.

“I think it would be fun to eat in diners and dance like they did,” she said.

As part of their studies, the kids contrasted life in the 1950s with the world of today, making note of the many changes in technology.

Tipton, for example, admitted she’s never seen either a vinyl record or a record player. To illustrate the idea, the kids made paper “records” and hung them from the ceiling tiles outside their classroom.

“We learned that instead of CDs, they had records,” she said.

She also noted phones of the 1950s were “clipped to the wall.” That was one old-style technology this 7-year-old could do without.

“You couldn’t take them with you,” she complained. “I have my own phone. I wouldn’t like it at all!”

But she noted that adults’ over-usage of phones today also has its annoying aspects.

“My mom, sister and dad are always on (the phone),” she said. “All I ever do is see them play games and text on them.”

Tipton was also surprised to hear that in the mid-1950s only half of American households had television sets.

“No TV?” she asked. “I wouldn’t like that. I watch it all the time.”

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