When Ettrick Elementary School fourth-grade teachers entered their newly-painted school with beautifully waxed floors in September, they were faced with a dilemma. What would they do to utilize a newly-cleared space on the landing of the fourth-grade hall?
Teachers Maria MacLaughlin, Crystal Richardson, Cynthia Turner, and Rebekah Newton, all agreed that the space should be utilized for something educational.
MacLaughlin brought in a six-foot mannequin and dressed it in a Revolutionary War uniform. An exhibit quickly took shape, which included a display on the Constitution and an MP3 recording by Matthew MacLaughlin, an educator and professional voice-over artist. There was only one thing missing. The mannequin had no identity.
The teachers wanted the students to have ownership of this “History Man.”
A contest was launched to the fourth-grade classes to “Name the Mannequin” to give the students ownership of the mannequin.
Teressa Clary, Ettrick Elementary School Principal, judged the entries and declared Chenaya Haskins, a student in Mrs. Richardson’s class, the winner.
The winning name was “Manny.” Over two hundred fourth- and fifth-grade students have welcomed Manny enthusiastically and look forward to greeting him each morning. Younger classes have utilized the display with the assistance of their teachers. Visitors to the building are also eager to see what Manny is wearing.
What is next for Manny? He will soon be dressed in other museum-quality clothing to coincide with the Virginia Studies unit currently being taught in fourth grade. Future voiceovers will be written and recorded by students. Computer-generated displays will be included in exhibits. “In Chesterfield we stress ‘Rigor and Relevance,’” said Maria MacLaughlin, Social Studies Lead Teacher at Ettrick Elementary. “At Ettrick Elementary School we now stress ‘Rigor, Relevance, and Realia.’” The students are excited about learning because they have contact with tangible items from various periods in history. As one fourth grader said, ‘We can now learn “Manny” cool lessons. Come by and visit.’”