Kings students travel back in time to celebrate Illinois

Tammy Greene and the students in her fourth grade class discuss several pivotal moments in the state’s history before stepping in the time machine. All of the students in Kings School participated in the play Monday to celebrate the state of Illinois’ bicentennial.

KINGS — Students in Kings School celebrated the state’s bicentennial with a birthday party and an all-school play Monday, complete with time traveling.

The play, “Illinois:  A Look Back,” brought students in Tammy Greene’s fourth grade class into a “time machine” to travel back to many of the state’s pivotal moments. Greene and her class sat around a table on stage where they discussed some of the key moments and people in Illinois history:  Before statehood, the Blackhawk War, John Deere, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Chicago Fire, World War I and II and the depression and the 1950s to the present.

Following each roundtable topic of discussion, Greene and the students stepped into the time machine where they “traveled” to meet students who explained all about the key moments in the state’s history. 

After the students read their topics, they pinned pictures and information on a life-sized cutout of the state. The play wrapped up with square-dancing. 

“I’ve been talking about Illinois to the students since the summer,” Greene said. “Before the school year begins, I send all of my incoming fourth graders a postcard from the many places I traveled to over the summer. Since there is more emphasis on math and reading and not much on social studies, and with my background in political science and social studies, I got the idea for the play as a way to showcase the state’s history in a fun way. The time machine was a way to get back and forth to cover each of the topics.”

Greene also organized an “Illinois Day” in September with groups in each of the Kindergarten through eighth grade classes in charge of special projects such as mosaics or posters. The lobby featured some larger than life corn on the cob fashioned with yellow spray-painted milk jugs.

Cast

The cast includes the following: First grade, Josie, Janie, Augie, Alainah, Beau, Oliviah, Hazel and Eli; second grade, Michael, Annaliese, Carlos, Natalee, Jasper, Ashlyn, Emma, and Preston; third grade, Abbi, Kenna, Tyson, Natalie, Carter, Preslee, and Mckenzie; fourth grade, Aiden, Ty, Halle, Kylie, Camryn, Kitty, Izzy, and Natalie; fifth grade, Sean, Thomas, Ben, Alex, Alanna, Katie, Laila, Andrew, Wyatt, and Jaden; sixth grade, Breydan, Jacob O. Jacob B., Ben, Maggie, Brianna, Payton, Nathan, Jett, Matthew, Brandyn, Austin, Tara, and Kallie; seventh grade, Kennedy, Cayden, Anna, Kendall, and Loretta; eighth grade, Elizabeth, Jimmy, Jonathon, Matthew, Ava L., Ava L., Brandon, Torrin, Tyler, Desmond, and Josey.

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