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Eighth Graders Research Renaissance and Reformation, and Try Filling the Shoes of Famous Historical Figures (via the Caldwells Patch)
Eighth Graders Research Renaissance and Reformation, and Try Filling the Shoes of Famous Historical Figures
Caldwell, NJ – June 23, 2014 – From Henry the VIII to Leonardo da Vinci, eighth grade students at Grover Cleveland Middle School (GCMS), Caldwell, tried walking in someone else’s shoes on Wednesday, June 4, when they spent the day as Renaissance men and women. The culminating activity to their study of the Renaissance and Reformation, each student was randomly assigned an influential character from the Renaissance Era in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries.
“This provided my classes a great opportunity to explore the district’s new DISCOVER research method and dive into the background, accomplishments, and major life events of these characters,” said eighth-grade teacher Trevor McLaughlin. “We introduced the DISCOVER method, which stands for Define, Inquire, Search, Collect, Organize, Verify, Express, and Reflect, to allow the students to engage in credible, verifiable, and expeditious research. Their research produced immediate results, and students came to the Renaissance Dinner Party informed, prepared, and excited to take on the role of a Renaissance character.”
Students sported baseball pants, long soccer socks, t-shirt cloaks, and berets, finding modern-day items that they could use to channel the look of the Renaissance era. These creative costumes were meant for students to literally and figuratively “walk a mile in another person’s shoes” as a means of getting into the roles of their characters from different time periods and different cultures.
“We truly had a diverse crew,” added McLaughlin. “Leonardo da Vinci wore a dress shirt smock and carried a paint brush, Dante Alighieri donned a red beanie head covering and came to the party with his Divine Comedy book in hand, Martin Luther draped a black blanket around his shoulders as a robe and put on a swimming cap to simulate baldness, and even King Henry VIII graced us with his presence in a regal, purple shirt and a pillow stuffed underneath to represent his girth.”
Acting as the host and waiter, McLaughlin wore a tuxedo and carried a silver tray while passing out water bottles and facilitating discussion amongst the characters.
“I was quite pleased, as I interviewed each of our dinner party ‘guests’ to see what they had learned through the research and evaluation of their characters,” said McLaughlin. “All in all, the Renaissance Dinner Party turned out to be a very enjoyable learning experience.”
For more information on Grover Cleveland Middle School, visit www.cwcboe.org/gcms.