History gets new life

Published 9:41 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MLK: One group of kindergarteners dressed up as Martin Luther King Jr. and demonstrated their knowledge by spouting off facts about him at Booker T. Washington Elementary School’s history program.

There were a lot of famous faces roaming the halls when history came to life Tuesday at Booker T. Washington Elementary School’s “A Night at the Living History Museum.”

Students from all grades portrayed important individuals and civilizations in history by dressing in costumes, using sets to transport guests to different time periods and offering interactive activities to demonstrate their knowledge of history.

Barb Kearney, a fourth-grade teacher, said the students put a lot of hard work into their displays, but the finished result was worth it.

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“It’s kind of ingrained their people in their minds,” she said.

Tawnya Vogel, a teacher at Booker T. Washington and one of the event’s coordinators, said she thought the museum was a good way for students to review for SOLs while inviting the parents get involved.

She said when a lot of students are part of a program more parents want to come to it, noting the number of guests who attended was more than she had ever seen at an event.

For the museum night, 564 parents and guests made their ways through the halls to meet Abraham Lincoln, hear about Juan Ponce de Leon’s travels and make jewelry in ancient Egypt.

Each grade level had its own display, highlighting historic topics they were studying in social studies.

The pre-K students participated by demonstrating good citizen behaviors, like sharing and working together.

Kindergarten and first-grade students dressed up as famous Americans, such as George Washington and Pocahontas, and told guests facts about the people they were portraying.

The students also simulated the first Thanksgiving and Native American dancing.

Second-grade students took guests back in time to ancient civilizations, inviting attendees to made jewelry using pasta and yarn and build pyramids with Legos.

The third grade focused on famous explorers and ancient history. Students had “buttons” on their hands for guests to press in order to hear who they were and what they did.

Third grader Bradley Harrison said he had a great time portraying Christopher Columbus, and his favorite part was being able to spend the evening in his “ship” in his classroom.

Fourth-grade classes covered Virginia history, while fifth-graders brought U.S. history to life.

This was the first time the school held this type of event, Vogel said.

Booker T. Washington teacher’s assistant Katrina Riddick, who portrayed poet Phillis Wheatley in the first display guests saw, said she was pleased with how the event turned out.

“I enjoy doing little things for the kids,” she said.