American Document

Adapted by Gretchen Eichberger
from the Original work by Martha Graham

Presented by Onekama's 3rd, 4th, & 5th Grade
Social Studies Students

March 21, 2012
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students of Onekama Elementary presented a chronology of our American Democracy beginning with the Declaration of Independence and concluding with the present time.  The program title, American Document was inspired by an original 1938 production by American modern dancer, Martha Graham.  Teacher, Gretchen Eichberger, adapted the version for elementary students after adapting and creating the nationís first civic version in 2010.   "The presentation was a culmination in the study of significant leaders that shaped our American culture and democracy and it integrated Michiganís Department of Education social studies standards.   Selected students portrayed characters such as Thomas Jefferson, Sojourner Truth, Jane Addams, Henry Ford, Walter Reuther, Mother Jones, and Rachel Carson, all of whom have played significant roles in shaping our society. The students quickly realize that all these society shapers had one thing in common - they had to be brave.  They had to stand up against enormous obstacles. Dances which we were created by the students,  and American folksongs were integrated into the performance.   The study and activities that led to the presentation also instilled our American civil rights and responsibilities.

"When children are learning about their nationís history they need to personally identify with the people shaped who it.  It is difficult for many students to imagine the life of slavery, being denied the right to vote or to speak our mind, or seeing the Statue of Liberty after a perilous journey from a suppressed country, therefore through portrayal of significant figures and periods, young minds go to that place in time, and identify with the event in a meaningful and personal way. " 

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