Hands On Blog

Touching the past...Molding the future.

Today was absolutely amazing.  Truman Elementary welcomed our guest speaker for Black History Month, Mr. George Watson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen.  We were at our best, best behavior, well mannered and ready to listen and learn from this living legend.  Mr. Watson was presented with a resolution from state representative Mike Leara and  was officially welcomed to St. Louis.  Mr. Watson told stories and weaved tales of his experiences with the Tuskegee Airmen.  Mr. Watson was very animated and engaged students as they attentively hung on each word.  Students asked questions formulated ahead and showed off their knowledge of the Tuskegee Airmen.  This culminating activity with Mr. Watson was symbolic of the vision of the Hands on Black History Museum. Our students were literally touching history.   Mr. Watson shook hands with students as they left the presentation and even took time to sign  autographs.  .  Mr. Watson is an octogenarian quickly approaching his 90th year , his hope is to  leave the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen with the next generation.  He generously left artifacts for the museum, jackets, caps, books autographed posters from the museum collection  and more.  This was a once in a lifetime experience that  will stay with students, educators  and all who joined us for many years to come.
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Hands on Black History ....take 2

The first half of the history museum exhibit has been taken down and put safely to rest for another year.  The new exhibit went up over the weekend.  Part 2 is vibrant, full of color, sounds and information to awaken the senses.  This new exhibit includes, everyday life, music, arts and entertainment, politics, and Blacks in the military.  Teachers were invited to a preview and museum talk to discover ways to best utilize the museum with their classes. 

Guest visitor Lakisha Jackson was able to stump groups that she spoke to at the "What's my Line?" game, although 3rd graders came very close.  Ms. Jackson is the Web producer. correspondent on KMOV News 4 in St. Louis.  Afterwords Ms. Jackson answered questions from first and third graders eager to learn more about her career.  Ms. Jackson was able to briefly visit the museum and was delighted to spend her afternoon taking part in our Museum and speaker program.  Ms. Jackson promised to share with others her experience and special time she shared with Truman students.  


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What we're learning is amazing!

Friday morning on our daily school broadcast two students shared essays on Martin Luther King Jr.  The essays were from a poster contest that required students to create posters and essays with this year's contest theme, "Dream, Believe, Succeed.  Keeping the Dream of Martin Luther King Jr. Alive!"  The essays were well done and reflected the students understanding of King's dream. 

The museum has received many thanks yous for the student's enjoyment of their experience.  The comments are sincere and tell what students have gained from the experience.  Voices from the museum:  "I loved the music on the computer, I loved the book Henry's Freedom Box, I enjoyed looking at all of the time lines.  I liked learning about Garret A. Morgan, Next time my Mom cuts the grass, I'll think about John Albert Burr, the inventor of the lawnmower."  and  "I loved everything!."


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Places, everyone!

The "PEGS* players" are preparing for their upcoming production of the Harriet Tubman story. Opening day for the play is Thursday. PEGS students have worked hard on the script, backdrop and props. The production will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the rest of February.

*Pegs is the program for exceptionally gifted students.

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Yes, I wear a uniform...

Colonel Craig O'Neal presented at the "What's My Line" game. Second, Third and Fifth grade classes attended and were armed with their best questions. The first group guessed that O'Neal was in the Military, sight unseen. O'Neal came from behind a screen to reveal himself in full dress and answered questions from the curious groups. Colonel O'Neal shared experiences from his thirty years in the Air Force and even had students from one group join in push-ups.

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The Excitement of Learning

Learning is not confined to the walls of the museum.  Teachers have shared the ways in which the museum's lessons have both  extended into the classroom with student reports, plays,  and ties to local history, and been a great follow-up activity  to compliment the curriculum.  Student generated reports and displays decorate the hallways throughout the building.  Students are excited when they run up to report that they have visited the museum and are eager tell about their favorite part.  The museum has created an excitement for learning history along with connecting us as a learning community that has shared in a common experience. 

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Is that the 'real' Box?

Many students have shared the story "Henry's Freedom Box " by Ellen Levine with the beautiful pictures by Kadir Nelson.  Upon entering the museum, students asked "Is that the 'real' box?"  Henry's Freedom Box tells the true story of how Henry Brown mails himself in a crate to freedom.  A replica of the box has caught the interest of many visitors.  "How strong was Henry's desire to be free to subject himself to the 27 hour trip, much of which was spent upside down?" Read and find out more about Henry "Box" Brown from the library.  The animated version of the story, "The Journey of Henry Box Brown" is available in the school library.  More museum adventures tomorrow.


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"What's my Line?"

Several professionals from the St. Louis area and surrounding area have been invited to the museum through a letter writing campaign initiated by several classes of Truman students.  Classrooms come to the event with 20 questions to try to guess the profession of the guest.  Afterwords the guest shares their profession with the classes and how they came to their particular career.  Following is a Qand A session with students.  Yesterday, was our first guest, Barbara Bailey.  Ms. Bailey  is the Vice president,Health Center management for Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Centers.  Ms. Bailey had fun stumping students and answering questions.  Between visits, she visited the museum and plans a return visit.  Next week promises more "What's my Line?" guests, stay tuned.


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"We visited the Museum today, it was awesome!!"

Today was opening day at the museum for students.  Students visited with their classroom teachers throughout the day and were very engaged.  Students made sports trading cards and started a museum display of student created cards, other students read and carefully looked at museum collections.  Some students chose the computers and viewed pictures of famous African Americans, while tapping their feet to the music. 
A parent brought in a poster of his brother, a pilot, to share in the museum and was impressed with his brief visit to the museum.  A Kindergartner brought in his signed Lou Brock baseball and some of his Dad's favorite trading cards.  As two fourth grade students were boarding the bus they said, with faces beaming, "We visited the Museum today, it was awesome!!"

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Grand Opening

Today was opening day for the Museum.  Teachers were invited to browse and discuss ways to use the museum with their students.   These are professional learning communities at their best!  Lots of compliments and positive feedback. The museum could not be possible if it were not for many hands working together for a common goal.  Thank you helping hands!

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Recent Posts

  1. Touching the past...Molding the future.
    Thursday, February 25, 2010
  2. Hands on Black History ....take 2
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010
  3. What we're learning is amazing!
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010
  4. Places, everyone!
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010
  5. Yes, I wear a uniform...
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010
  6. The Excitement of Learning
    Sunday, February 07, 2010
  7. Is that the 'real' Box?
    Thursday, February 04, 2010
  8. "What's my Line?"
    Thursday, February 04, 2010
  9. "We visited the Museum today, it was awesome!!"
    Tuesday, February 02, 2010
  10. Grand Opening
    Monday, February 01, 2010

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  1. liz e. on "What's my Line?"
    2/4/2010
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    2/2/2010
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    2/2/2010
  5. James on Grand Opening
    2/1/2010
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    2/1/2010

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