A unique tradition continued Wednesday as fifth-grade students at Central Intermediate School dressed up as historial figures as part of the school's fourth annual Living History Day. The students, dressed as figures as diverse as Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, and Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, spent an hour in the school gymnasium posing as if they were wax figures.
Teacher Bethany Talledge said that the goal of event is to get students to dig deeper into U.S. history.
"All of the fifth grade in social studies we study the United States, the capitals, the regions, and our culminating project is to look at the people from history in the United States who made a significant impact and difference," she explained.
According to Talledge, the students are directed to choose a significant person from U.S. history or a family member, research that person and then dress up or otherwise become that person for the duration of the event. The rules state they must remain still and not interact with those who view their display.
"They go through and research what made (the person they selected) famous, what impact they had on the life, and what are they known for today," Talledge said, adding that the students seem to really get into the project.
"They make it their own, which is exciting," she said.
Fellow fifth grade teacher Ingrid Bodensteiner agreed.
"The one thing that has changed is that as fourth graders, they've been able to tour and see what the fifth graders are doing," Bodensteiner said. "So they have a good idea of what the expectations are and what kind of displays they would like to make."
She said it was "fantastic" to see the students really immerse themselves in the history project.
"I think it provides a really good snapshot into the lives of these people (the chosen historical figures or family members)," Bodensteiner said. "What has changed over the four years is that students have a choice. They can either choose a famous American or they can choose the person they selected for the listening to history project, which is usually a family member, a friend or a neighbor."
"You don't have to be famous to have an impact," she added, noting the students learn a lot from the process of researching and imitating their character of choice.
"I think they really enjoy trying to bring that character to life," Bodensteiner said. "I think it is a fun way to learn about them."
Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at email@example.com.
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