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Third Graders Deliver 'Soapbox' Speeches by Famous Americans
Posted 04/18/2019 09:29PM

Barnesville’s Third Grade American Book Parade adds a dramatization component to  the traditional biographical book report, bringing famous Americans from throughout history to life.

Each student selects a notable American to research and then writes a first-person biographical report, highlighting significant events in that person's life. Dressed in character, students parade down the hallway, pulling miniature floats they’ve created to represent their chosen subject’s personal story. Each student then steps up onto a “soapbox” to deliver a speech they’ve written in the voice of their chosen historical figure.

This Cross-Curricular Learning Project is a treasured tradition and rite of passage at Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences.

“I get goosebumps each time one of my students steps up to that microphone,” said Third Grade Teacher Mrs. Gekas. “As third grade explorers, students don’t just read about history, they live it.”

This year’s Book Parade featured the following historical figures: Statue of Liberty, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, Annie Oakley, Matthew Henson, Harry Houdini, Amelia Earhart, Walt Disney, Norman Borlaug, Steve Jobs, President Barack Obama, Misty Copeland, and Kevin Durant. Photos are on Facebook.

In preparation, Mrs. Gekas talked to students about taking on the persona of their subject and asked the School Librarian Ms. Walsh to show them what she goes through to "become" Abigail Adams for living history events and re-enactments.

The Book Parade is part of a broader study about people who are upstanders in history. As part of the ongoing tradition, the event concludes with a choral reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the folk song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”

Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is an independent private school in Montgomery County, Maryland offering innovative preschool through 8th grade programs. Cross-curricular teaching encourages students to explore how subjects relate to one another, helping them to make connections that spark inquiry and deepen understanding. Small classes enable skilled teachers to engage each child in an academically challenging environment. Our 30-acre campus is our extended classroom, and we integrate nature into everyday learning.

An independent private school in
Montgomery County, Maryland
offering innovative preschool
through 8th grade programs.

Barnesville School

21830 Peach Tree Road
PO Box 404
Barnesville, MD 20838

p: 301.972.0341
f: 301.972.4076


We offer a vigorous academic program for students as well as engaging, hands-on learning experiences.


Our positive, supportive learning environment promotes imagination, exploration, personal growth, and achievement.

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