On June 7th, the 5th graders re-created a 1776 town council meeting somewhere in the American colonies as the colonists debated whether or not to separate from Great Britain. The students had spent the last several weeks working on persuasive writing pieces, following a reading of excerpts from Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” which argued forcefully for independence in 1776. Some took the position of patriots seeking independence, and other took the role of loyalists faithful to the British crown. After giving opening statements, the students went back and forth, presenting their best arguments in favor or against independence. In the fashion of a British parliamentary gathering, their arguments were often met with spirited cheers or jeers from other colonists attending the meeting. Our 5th grade “colonists” argued over the relative merits of new taxes imposed by the king and parliament, representation in the British parliament, and of the risk of getting involved in a long war with the mother country. Although the town council was divisive, without a clear victor in the debate, all of them presented powerful arguments for their positions.