History comes to life

Published 10:03 pm Friday, November 2, 2012

At Booker T. Washington Elementary School Friday, second-graders from Wendy Hubbard’s class get into the spirit of an upcoming event where they will bring history to life for parents, teachers and community members.

Booker T. Washington has a special treat in store for the community next year after winning a $500 grant, and it will include kimonos, living statues, mummies and the Nile River.

The Virginia Association of Federal Education Program Administrators grant will fund an event titled A Night At The Living History Museum, which takes a page from the scripts of the popular Ben Stiller “Night at the Museum” movies.

Students from throughout the school will bring to life the history they have been learning for the Standards of Learning, wrapping themselves in toilet paper to become mummies from Ancient Egypt and kimonos to evoke Asia.

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The project is being led by Title I teacher Tawnya Vogel, a reading specialist for fourth- and fifth-graders.

“It will be the second year,” Vogel said. “We call it Night At The Living History Museum, because we bring the whole school to life.”

Students have a long time to perfect their costumes and speeches — the event will take place on March 28, from 6:30 p.m.

Vogel said the whole length of the school’s main hall will be lined with students in character. Many of them, she said, will pretend to be statues of historical figures and leap into life when a visitor walks past.

Each grade will present a different time in history, according to a district press release, and students will use biographies and historical prose to research their characters, learning “what motivated them to action, accomplishments and triumphs.”

“Students will discover that these historical figures acted much like today’s politicians, civic leaders, ministers and freedom advocates.”

Students at Booker T. Washington, thanks to Title I and school funds and community and teacher donations, have been involved in monthly events and activities targeting different SOL skill gaps and lifestyle issues, Vogel said.

Close to 200 people attended a recent fitness event, she said, which included Zumba, line dancing, basketball and table tennis.

During other events, parents were invited to visit the school to create math and other games they then took home, and a “science circus” reinforced important early science, technology, engineering and math skills.

At the history night, which drew more than 500 people to the school last time, “We try to bring as much stuff to life as we can, and we use the whole school,” Vogel said.

“I think the reason why we get a big turnout (is) instead of presenting something up on stage, the whole school is doing it.”