A revolutionary concept! MSMS students bring history to life

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MAKING HISTORY GREAT AGAIN: At left, students Addy Smith, Lucy Shapleigh and Rosalind Houle in 'The Declaration of Independence.' Right, George Washington, played by student Luke Vitas, in 'Betsy Ross' (Courtesy photos/Rochester School District)

ROCHESTER - Maple Street Magnet School students recently wrote and performed plays as a way to demonstrate what they learned throughout the year.

On June 23, MSMS fourth-graders were able to bring history to life by writing and performing plays focusing on topics related to the American Revolution. The plays were based on research and knowledge students gained from the Rochester School District's reading program, Core Knowledge Language Arts.

Groups worked together to write five plays: "The Boston Tea Party," "The Declaration of Independence," "A Family Story" about how families coped with life amid war, "Betsy Ross," and "A New Nation: The United States of America."

Students created props, backdrops and costumes for their plays, which were performed in front of their classmates and families to dive deeper into their learning.

"I had fun practicing the play and when a friend was helping me make my costume. I learned about teamwork and friendship," said Megan Alexander, one of the fourth-graders who performed in "A Family Story."

Through their discussions and research, students looked at the perspectives of the colonists and the British. By working collaboratively on their research, organization and performance of each play, students were able to have fun while learning about the American Revolution.

"Students have formed a new appreciation about the history of our country through research and class discussion," said fourth-grade teacher Virginia Farkas. "I am very proud of how they brought history to life for their families and students of Maple Street Magnet School to enjoy."

The reading program used is a research-based program grounded in the science of reading that identifies the content knowledge and skills essential to the development of literacy. This approach closes the gaps in prior knowledge and vocabulary by intertwining the teaching of foundational skills and background knowledge, building both cohesively and cumulatively.

"It's wonderful to see the way our teachers and students are working together to bring life to the knowledge, concepts and historical moments they've learned about in the classroom," Rochester Schools Superintendent Kyle Repucci said.

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