Singing Their Way Ino History Algonquin Students Invent Village Song
Byers, Christine, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Christine Byers Daily Herald Staff Writer
Who knew history class could be this fun? Apparently, the fourth- and fifth-grade class at Eastview Elementary in Algonquin does.
As opposed to learning about colonial life in America, this group of youngsters got a lesson in the history of their own village.
But it wasn't about reading books or listening to a teacher's lecture for these children. Instead, they came up with a song about Algonquin history.
They also plan to have an open house and play the role of their favorite historic figure from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 to 2 p.m. Jan. 13 at the school.
Their teacher, Paul Hardt, had something to do with this change in the lesson plan, of course.
"To become a member of your community, you need to understand it and buy into it and become part of it," Hardt said. "It helps them assimilate and feel like it's not a town without past. It's part of Illinois and part of America.
"And they're very proud of that."
Members of the Algonquin Historic Commission helped the class find resources to write the song and come up with roles to play.
"This teacher thought it was important to learn local history," said Jeff Jolitz, who chairs the commission. "I think it's wonderful."
At first, the class only was going to write the song. But soon they had gathered so much information, that it wouldn't all fit.
So they came up with the idea of acting out Algonquin's history during an open house with short plays about historical events, like the Hill Climb and dressing up like well-known Algonquin figures, like Dr. Andrew Cornish.
Tales of human bones found near railroad tracks, a coin- counterfeiting island known as Bogus Island and groups of gypsies coming through town intrigued the youngsters the most, Hardt said.
Some students will act as normal villagers whispering the latest news according to articles published in the 1860s and 1880s. …