Students celebrate history

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

When Rita Carmichael took over as substitute teacher for a Cedar Park Elementary fifth-grade class, she had no idea what to expect.

The class’s regular teacher became ill and was not able to leave behind any lesson plans for the substitute to follow.

Instead of handing out busy work for the students to do over the next few weeks, Carmichael dove head first into finding a way to keep the kids interested in learning.

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One of the projects she came up with was giving the fifth-graders a black history assignment that involved more than writing a paper.

Each student chose a black person they admired-from athletes and entertainers to writers and activists-and learned as much about them as possible.

The students were required to not only write about their subject, but also fill a poster board with pictures of that person, give a speech in front of the class, and dress up in character.

Posters lining the desks inside the Cedar Park classroom displayed the lives of greats from Michael Jordan and Aretha Franklin to Thurgood Marshall.

On the day the projects were due, the students

took great lengths to dress like the people they researched. As they entered the classroom, they looked liked small scale versions the people they admired.

Carmichael said the students had one week to complete their project.

The teacher, along with other faculty members at the school, became amazed at how well the students seemed interested in the assignment.

Carmichael taught the fifth-grade class for three weeks and has only a few more days left with the students.

Though the class may be glad to get their regular teacher back, they seemed to enjoy the time they spent with the substitute. Carmichael will be one of those teachers they will never forget.