This week I witnessed what real teaching is all about–bringing a subject alive for students.
Erika Miranda and aide Barbara Milazzo took their 5-6th grade class at Sierra Foothill Charter School on a journey back to the colonization of America and the Revolutionary War by helping their student “become” actual figures in history–some famous, some little known.
The culmination of many weeks of research and hands-on effort resulted in a presentation called: the Wax Museum of Living History.
I was called in after each student had picked his or her character and completed their initial research into the person’s life. Ms. Miranda asked me to speak about character development and how an author gets to really “know” a character. So, I introduced GMC: Goals, Motivation and Conflict. I asked the students to look beyond the image and find out what drove these people to take such enormous risks and act in ways that led to the birth of a nation.
Did the students “get” it? Oh, my, yes! They culled the bits and pieces of written history to transform their character into a living, breathing human who shared their passion, their ego–yes, Ben Franklin, you accomplished a lot–, and bring out the story behind the figure to an amazed audience of students, parents and grandparents.
Here are a few standouts, but, truly, every student did an amazing job. And all of these photos are courtesy of Jill Harry, with my sincere gratitude.
I wish I could share the entire cast with you–everyone did a fabulous job. And the best part? They not only learned more about history than you could possibly test for–they became teachers, too, by bringing history to life.