History on Stage started as an idea to combine American history events with fairy tales. This pairing had an easy connection: how much perspective matters in a story, whether the story is of a true event or a folktale handed down generation to generation. Students studied fairy tales that they were told growing up or had watched in movies, then read novels that told the story from a new perspective, specifically from the perspective of the villain.  As they read, they researched American history, from the Declaration of Independence to the Articles of Confederation to the Great Compromise.  Students then created presentations to teach younger students about the American history events and what the different perspectives were of each issue.

To exhibit what was learned, students wrote and performed puppet shows, interviews, excerpts from musicals and plays, newscasts, rap battles, or song parodies and performed to local 5th-grade classrooms.

Content Standards

Literature: Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events or character types from myths, traditional stories or religious works including describing how the material is rendered new.

Social Studies: Explain the challenges faced by the new nation and analyze the development of the constitution as a new plan for governing. Explain and analyze the challenges the new government faced and the role of political and social leaders in meeting these challenges.

Student Reflection

I was very interested in the project when it started, but was unhappy with the fact that we would be performing in front of a live audience. I don’t like acting, but there were other options for other students who may not like acting live. It would have been nice to know what school you would be performing at ahead of time, but that was unable to happen because of the snow days. There were plenty of options for what you wanted to do, and the historical events we had to base our projects on were interesting as they all played a major role in the shaping of our country. Me, personally, I did it on the Declaration of Independence, and I had a blast. Writing a script and music lyrics are both very enjoyable ways to learn about our country’s history. -Sydney, Greenspire student