• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

American history comes alive at Northside

Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Rosa Parks, Bill Gates and Hillary Clinton – as portrayed by fifth-graders – talked about their contributions to American history at Northside Elementary last Friday, Jan. 27. Teachers, parents, grandparents and other students visited the school’s American History Wax Museum, where history comes alive each year. Fifth-graders – 48 of them – chose a different historical figure, learned important facts about that person and then shared a monologue about “my time in history” with museum visitors. “I’m always surprised at the creativity of the costumes,” said librarian/media specialist Melinda Caldwell. She suggested students dig into a family member’s closet if they needed to find a dress that Susan B. Anthony may have worn or a baseball jersey similar to one worn by Babe Ruth. “I encouraged them to not purchase costumes – to be creative,” said Caldwell, now in her fifth year at Northside. Because fifth-graders are learning U. S. history in their social studies classes this school year, teacher Heather Moffett says allowing students to portray notable people in history gives them personal connections to their country’s past. And when her students read about these historical figures, she knows their place in history “resonates with them” when they say: “That was my key figure in history.” Fifth-graders worked on this project over the last several weeks. They also wrote an informational writing piece about their historical figures, which they shared with classmates. In their writing pieces, Caldwell said fifth-graders were asked to elaborate on their monologues about “my time in history.” Former librarian Sally Horowitz started Northside’s annual museum of living history several years ago. Caldwell wanted to continue this hands-on learning experience for fifth-graders because “it brings (history) to life for them,” she said. Knowing his vital role in the creation of five national parks during his presidency, Caldwell said, “I am happy that Teddy Roosevelt (as portrayed by Jack Buckley) is here.”

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