CRESTVIEW — Riverside Elementary School fifth-graders are exploring the Revolutionary War with an art project filling one of the school's hallways with depictions of figures involved with shaping our nation.
Fifth-grade teachers Amy Bowles and Jennifer Nelson had their two classes study the Revolutionary War, which lasted from 1775 to 1783 and included George Washington, John Adams and Paul Revere. Students researched the nation’s founding fathers and made life-sized paper cutouts of them, including descriptions of their role in American history.
"It’s really fun to watch them and see how excited they get about American history," Bowles said. "They are coming up to us and giving us ideas that we haven't even thought of."
Braeden Veale, 11, helped name the hallway, Liberty Hall.
He researched Paul Revere with his brother’s help and created a paper figurine of the early industrialist, circa April 18, 1775. He captured the moment when Revere warned fellow patriots, from Boston to Concord, Mass., that British troops were approaching, signaling the Revolutionary War’s beginning.
"I know a lot about Paul Revere," Braeden said. "(He) was a big help in fighting the Red Coats."
Although Revere wasn't credited with coining the phrase "one if by land, two if by sea," he did orchestrate the secret signal used to warn patriots of the British troops’ route to Concord.
American poet Henry W. Longfellow coined the often quoted phrase in his poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
"It meant if that the Red Coats were coming my sea, than one lantern would be lit in the old church," Braeden said. "Two meant they were coming by sea."
Classes are reading historical fiction based on the war, featuring a character near their age witnessing the events.
"It's all historically accurate, but it meets the kids on their level," Nelson said.
In their projects, students must create slide presentations on their assigned figures and take on their personas while teachers interview them.
In addition to educating children on America's history, one of the project’s main goals was to incorporate art into history.
Both teachers reached outside the school to acquire additional funding for the project to cover costs of books, paper and other necessities.
Nelson said a couple of fellow church members at First Baptist Church of Crestview donated $100, while Bowles received the Lily Sarah Grace Fund’s assistance. The fund helps elementary teachers incorporate art into all of the core subjects, Bowles said.
The Liberty Hall display should remain until the end of the school year, the teachers said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.