Students get up close and personal with history

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., May. 17, 2011
Marley Forbes (right) addresses her Hebron Elementary School classmates as Bob Marley. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Marley Forbes (right) addresses her Hebron Elementary School classmates as Bob Marley. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Like many young people, fourth-grader Skylar Haines was strongly affected by reading “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

“It’s such a great story,” said Haines. “She is kind of my hero.” Haines had an opportunity to share her hero with other students her age via a unique event put together by challenge and enrichment teacher Kate Maupin.

On May 11 at Hebron Elementary School, a number of Maupin’s students gathered in the school’s gymnasium to portray influential people in an event called “Living History.” Located at different stations throughout the gym, the kids sported costumes and props of their own choosing. Visiting students, led by “tour guides,” were brought to the stations, where they could ask the “historical figures” stories about their lives.

“I had to research a lot about John Glenn,” said sixth-grader James Potticary, dressed in a shiny silver space suit. Potticary said that the students were directed to choose “anyone who would still have historical significance in 100 years.” After researching their subject via a variety of different sources, “We had to develop a talking menu and get a costume,” said Potticary. One of the questions most frequently asked of Potticary was, “Why are you sitting in a wheelchair?” His answer: “Due to a lack of gravity in space, you lose your muscle strength,” he said. “It doesn’t last very long, though.”

The biggest benefit of the event is that it’s a “fun way to learn how to research,” said Maupin. “They go to Wikipedia, and they think they’ve researched. They’re encouraged to use different sources for their information.” The event gives the kids experience and confidence with public speaking. “And sometimes,” said Maupin, “the C and E kids get to be really insulated. This gives them a chance to share what they’ve learned with their classmates.”

Some of the students went fairly simple with their props, while others got more elaborate. Haines attempted to recreate some of the details of the hiding place of Anne Frank, complete with photographs of some of the popular film stars of the 1940s. “I wanted people to know that, even though she was in hiding, she was a normal teenager,” said Haines.

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