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Middle Gate’s Fourth Graders Transform Into Connecticut Historical Figures

For a few hours on Friday, April 25, Middle Gate Elementary School fourth grade students transformed into historical figures.

When visitors to the school’s four fourth grade classrooms tapped a waiting fourth grader on the shoulder, the student started sharing a prepared speech created for the school’s Living Biographies project.

Students in Heidi Beauty, John Sullivan, Katie Mauro, and Linda Baron’s classes all participated in the project. Family members and other Middle Gate students were invited to the classrooms for the event. Middle Gate Principal Christopher Geissler also stopped by to hear the students and see the projects performed.

“I just think they are amazing,” Mr Geissler said, adding later, “I’m just impressed by their performance skills… and their research skills.”

In Ms Beauty’s class this year, she said students chose to research many new historical figures that had not been as popular with Middle Gate students in the past, along with sports figures. In Ms Baron’s classroom she noted her students had chosen a number of spies from the Revolutionary War and Civil -ra figures.

“My heart is full,” Ms Baron said. “They are so proud of themselves and they are creating a forever memory.”

Ms Mauro said the curriculum was changed this year, so the Living Biographies project was also altered. Along with creating and memorizing their speeches, this year students had to write three chapters of a biography for their chosen historical figure, then remodel it as if it had been written in the first person.

A number of students had props at the ready to better portray their historical figures, like Olivia Patrick who held a mixing bowl and a whisk while she presented Martha Stewart and Sean Gordon who had a baseball and glove as he presented Boston Red Sox player Pinky Woods.

Lexi Hunter had a mustache and gray eyebrows on, along with a pipe in her hand, as she presented Mark Twain.

“I like books and I heard he wrote a lot of books,” Lexi said when asked why she chose Mark Twain to study. “He had a very interesting life.”

Marcus Graffeo said he wanted to study Eli Whitney because “I like the feeling of cotton and because he invented machines.”

Marcus was impressed by Eli Whitney’s inventions for cotton and his manufacturing of muskets.

Fourth grader Bridget Lovely had a medal draped around her neck while she presented Dorothy Hamill. “I do like ice skating and I do it a lot in the winter,” Bridget said.

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