HES second grade presents ninth annual Living Museum

Helena Elementary School second graders dressed as Michael Phelps, Lucille Ball and Thomas Jefferson got ready to present to parents, teacher and students during the May 6 production of the Living Museum. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Helena Elementary School second graders dressed as Michael Phelps, Lucille Ball and Thomas Jefferson got ready to present to parents, teacher and students during the May 6 production of the Living Museum. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HELENA—Helena Elementary School’s second grade class brought history to life with their annual Living Museum production on May 6.

The school was transformed into a museum with students dressed as iconic American figures, from Cam Newton to Paul Revere, and stationed throughout hallways bearing labels such as “the Hall of Presidents” and “the Hall of Writers and Musicians.”

“They’ve been working on this for about one and a half months,” second grade teacher Laura Sokol said of the in-depth second grade project. “They research, they write, they prepare a costume and a speech, and they share and practice in class.”

Students first conference with teachers to select a historical figure, then they research and develop a speech highlighting the figure’s important accomplishments and design a costume.

Although focused on American history, the Living Museum project draws on skills learned throughout the curriculum, strengthening students reading, writing, research and creative thinking skills.

“It’s a really wonderful integrated and rich learning experience,” Helena Elementary School Principal Mary Cooper said. “It integrates reading, writing, social studies and science.”

“It crosses into all areas of study,” Sokol said, noting that students use many resources for their projects such as books from the library and guided Internet research during computer lab.

“It meets the needs of all learning styles and learners in the second grade,” second grade teacher Pam Clay said.

The Living Museum has become a tradition at Helena Elementary School. Started by a group of teachers, the second grade production is now in its ninth year and continues to get better with each production, Cooper said.

“They saw this (when they were) in first grade and kindergarten,” Sokol said. “They love it, this is their time to shine and perform.”

The second graders presented to parents and first grade students in the morning, and then visited the kindergarten classrooms in the afternoon.

“To me, it’s a celebration of learning,” Sokol said. “It’s a culmination (of their work) at the end of the year for parents, teachers and students.”