Student Monologues Bring History to Life

The Third Grade Social Studies curriculum at Walden School examines subjects ranging from the 50 states and their capitals to Westward Expansion and Louisville history. But no activity is more highly anticipated than the “Revolutionary War Monologues,” when students assume the role of an historical figure, dress in period costume—designed, hand made, or purchased just for the occasion—and deliver an impassioned speech in front of classmates, teachers, and parents.

To prepare, they use the computer lab and library to study influential people and occurrences of the American Revolutionary era, select one noteworthy person, and gather the information necessary to accurately portray that character.

This year, as Crispus Attucks — the first person killed in the Boston Massacre — Kishan explained how the event helped spur the Colonists into action, while Tess used a tea set to demonstrate how Penelope Barker rallied women to boycott tea and other British products. “Dressing up was weird at first,” she says, “but it made sense once we did it; and it helped me get into character.” Classmate Eli, as Ben Franklin, says the day was “really awesome,” and was something he’d been looking forward to since his brother participated a few years ago.

“This assignment helps students connect with the academic material and glean a better understanding of these individuals through research and performance,” says faculty member Brian Flower. “Every year is different; it’s always interesting to see what the kids create. And they still talk about it long after they’ve left third grade.”

Does your school do something similar?

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