Learning old lessons
Togas were the fashion statement of choice Tuesday at Eastbluff
Elementary School as sixth-graders took a walk through history back to
the ancient times of Romans, Greeks and Egyptians.
It was the third year that the Newport Beach students have been
raiding their parents’ linen closets to emulate historic figures and test
their knowledge of ancient history for the Walk Through Ancient World
Leading the students in their retrospective was presenter
extraordinaire Kate Rosa, from California Weekly Explorer.
The reenactment enabled the students to get a visceral sense of
ancient history by assuming the personas of various characters ranging
from Roman Emperor Nero -- complete with fiddle -- to the Egyptian sun
god, Ra, who wore a hawk-like mask.
“It’s that in-depth kind of knowledge you get from involving yourself
in learning,” said parent Steve Johnston, who kept a stapler close at
hand to keep son Dane’s toga -- a la Julius Caesar -- from unraveling.
For Rona Pomerico’s class, the event formally began when the students
sat in a semicircle divided into three civilizations and Rosa began
lobbing questions at them. Rosa navigated through ancient history with
the seasoned expertise of a scholarly historian, while keeping the
Students had to prove their expertise in defining words relevant to
the civilizations, and students who came as historical figures acted out
Evan Livadas came as Spartacus, bedecked in a silver helmet with a
silver-coated shield hanging from his neck, silver strips hanging off his
belt and silver shin guards.
“It’s pretty fun because there are a lot of activities, and we get to
learn a lot,” Evan said.
Mary Henderson came as Saul, who persecuted Christians until he had a
vision of Jesus and changed his name to Paul. Mary, who was wearing a
lilac toga, said she thought the day’s events were cool.
“It’s very fun and educational,” Mary said.
This is one of three reenactment days the school holds on an annual
basis -- the other two are Walk Through California for fourth-graders and
Walk Through the American Revolution for fifth-graders.
Principal Charlene Metoyer said the reenactments are the perfect
complement to the inquiry format students are encouraged to use, which
includes asking questions they want answered and finding the information
on their own.
“It’s fabulous that kids actually get to take part in what they’re
learning. It solidifies everything and gives them a way to express their
creative side,” Metoyer said.
* Deirdre Newman covers education. She may be reached at (949)
574-4221 or by e-mail at o7 firstname.lastname@example.org .