Hands-on history

ROCHESTER — Julianys Echevarria had hoped to be the queen.

But she was happy with her "lady in waiting" role, as she still got to wear a pretty dress when the Middle Ages came to life for Julianys and her classmates at Henry Hudson School No. 28. The integrated arts project combined research and writing in English language arts and social studies classes with theater and oratorical skills.

"I learned about this (medieval) part of history in England," added Julianys, an 11-year-old fifth grader. "Girls didn’t have power, only the boys."

The school offered the program for grades 5 and 6 for the first time through a grant, explained Principal Susan Ladd. Annette Ramos served as the teaching artist for the arts and theater component.

Students recreate Middle Ages

Each grade also has a bilingual class, which learned the information in both languages, Ladd added. In addition to learning about their different roles and creating speeches, the students created trifold displays for their characters and also drew a life-sized castle and manor for the Kingdom of Hudson. Ramos also worked with classes at Pinnacle School No. 35.

"It was a lot of work," said Catherine Swan, a sixth-grade teacher. "But they learned a lot about medieval times and about England, (more) than they would have from a textbook. They took on roles, learned monologues and got to see the different costumes. It was great."

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