Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oak Lawn goes around the world in just one day

Cranston Herald
May 27, 2010
All text and photos by: Jennifer Cowart

WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN: Arianna Boscia, Emma Paolella, Allison Bonniol, Ally Merrill, Cianna Lynch, Olivia Gesualdi and Amanda Ferri lead guests on a tour of Ancient Egypt.

The students in Patricia Ruggieri and Rosemary Reardon’s sixth grade classes took a trip around the world this month, visiting ancient civilizations in Greece, Rome, India, Egypt and China.

To begin their educational exploration, the students and their guests received a “passport” with a page for each civilization that would be stamped with customized logos.

Once divided into tour groups, the real fun began. Each group had to work together to create a museum-like tour of their country. The tour had to feature life-sized props, timelines, costumes, maps of the country, as well as information about food, clothing, jewelry, entertainment, religion and other cultural elements from that time period.

As a result of some intensive technology-focused professional development that Ruggieri and Reardon participated in over the summer, both of their classrooms are set up with state of the art technology. Therefore, each group had to also integrate a Power Point presentation and an iMovie into their tour.

“They worked very hard on this,” Ruggieri said. “It was an independent project; guided but not instructed.”

According to Ruggieri and Reardon, the groups were given a structured format to follow but worked independently, checking in with the teachers during weekly meeting times.

Once the research, sets and props were ready, the students created a live museum for their friends and families to visit throughout the day. Each visitor also received a passport of their own and could tour the museum at their leisure, listening to the students’ presentations.

“Please enjoy your stay,” could be heard throughout the afternoon as people moved from one ancient civilization to the next, getting their passports stamped at each location.

Guests visited with mummies and even met Greek commoners and warriors.

As Ruggieri and Reardon toured the civilizations themselves, they said they were pleased with the final products created by their students.

"We want them to be able to do this kind of work in middle school,” said Ruggieri. “It’s a nice way for them to retain the facts they’ve learned.”