McRae Elementary School third grade student Lola Simmons as Helen Keller recites her speech to Ms. Rhonda Sullivan. Simmons is a student in Ms. Tammie Rhodes's class.
In a few weeks, I will be traveling with my husband to Washington D.C. We plan to tour many of the historical sites, and I’m greatly looking forward to it. However, last Wednesday I felt like I was getting the same historical education that I hope to get in D.C. right here in Searcy, Arkansas. McRae Elementary School third grade students presented a Living Museum two days last week.
As I walked through the doors of the McRae cafeteria (roped off just like a museum,)I saw a room filled with third grade students standing on milk crates. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I should touch the “statue” on the shoulder. My first stop was to meet Pocahontas. Once I tapped her on the shoulder, she began a 1-2 minute MEMORIZED speech about her life. As soon as she finished, she immediately recreated her statuesque pose. I moved throughout the museum and met historical figures such as George Washington, Louis Pasteur (who happened to have a French accent), Betsy Ross, John F. Kennedy, and many, many more.
Third grade teachers at McRae developed this creative educational opportunity to fulfill various Common Core requirements. Mrs. Blakely Howell explains how they came upon the idea. “The Living Museum project began as an investigative biography. In our standards, we are to conduct a short research project that builds knowledge on a topic. We tied this project in with our Social Studies frameworks, and the students chose a person from history that contributed to the common good of our society. They conducted research on this person by reading biographies and searching on the internet. Then, they created a poster using technology to present the information learned from their research. The final project was to make their person come to life and recite a speech in a live museum performance. Visitors were able to see people from our history such as George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and Rosa Parks. The students’ excitement about this project grew and grew as the Living Museum date approached. The buzz among the students reflected their enthusiasm. After seeing how engaged the students were, we plan to make this an annual event at McRae Elementary.” The McRae third grade teachers are Blakely Howell, Kristi Smith, Rhonda Sullivan, Tammie Rhodes, and James Mulvaney.
As I walked through the museum, I was impressed with the pride the students took in their performances, and I also noticed how the parents and museum visitors were blown away at the talents of these students. We at Searcy Public Schools would like to commend the McRae third grade teaching staff on providing an opportunity for our students to learn in a new and exciting endeavor. Our students truly made history come to life!