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Woodson fourth-graders relive history in performance
With painted faces, wearing shell necklaces, feathered headdresses and symbolized vests, Woodson Elementary School fourth graders in Myra Taylor's and Katie Erickson's classes spent Jan. 25 performing a Living Museum for their fellow-students.
This year, the fourth-grade students have been studying Native Americans from the Chumash, Yokut, Yurok or Cahuilla tribes.
"I am a Chumash Native American. I live on the Southern Pacific Coast of California. I live in a warm climate. I study the stars and create rock art that represent the night sky," said one student during the performance.
Erickson said the living museum was their culminating activity.
"We thought it was a way to bring history to life," she said.
Woodson students, staff and parents attended the museum, which was a first for the school.
The living museum was set up in the school's cafeteria, featuring eight stations where attendees pushed on a button that became lit and the character, portrayed by a student, came to life. Each student wrote a one-minute speech about their character.
Daniela Cea said she told people about where her tribe lived and what kind of landforms and water were in that region.
"I felt nervous because there were so many people staring, but I felt happy when I saw my sister and my mom and grandparents because I got to show off some artifacts about the Chumash tribe," Cea said.
The fourth graders presentations included Native American artifacts such as spears made of sticks, mortars and pestles made of rock, headdresses made of real feathers and Chumash rock art.
Sadie Thomas, 9, was from the Chumash tribe.
"I had string on my brown skirt, brown boots with tan string, and a Native American band with a feather and then a white shirt made into a vest and a rope bracelet," she said. "The Chumash were important because they used plant fibers and sea grasses to make dome-shaped houses."
Thomas' face was painted with Chumash symbols, which represented how Native Americans dressed for special ceremonies.
Erickson said the students became "experts" about their particular tribe through the teaching strategy Guided Language Acquisition by Design, and practiced their speeches in front of the class previous to the performance.
Katie Endres of Corning came out to see the museum her daughter had been talking about.
"I was very impressed on their discipline; staying in character and pose. Their explanations of each description of what their part in the tribe was, was well done," she said.