Tisbury students study women in history

Tisbury School social studies teacher Reuben Fitzgerald, center, got in the act with eighth-graders Emily Hewson, left, and Cole Houston.   — Photo courtesy of Phyllis Vecchi

Tisbury School sixth- and eighth-grade students recently brought history lessons to life through a “Women in History through Theatre” program, taught by Phyllis Vecchia of Creative Drama.

“The eighth graders reenacted the lives of Anne Hutchinson and the women of the Salem witch trials,” Ms. Vecchia said in an email to The Times. “The sixth graders were introduced to the lives and accomplishments of Eleanor Roosevelt,  Abigail Adams, and the women of Salem.”

Ms. Vecchia taught 24 workshop sessions over three months, during the students’ social studies classes. In addition to history lessons, the workshop sessions also included fun theater warm-up exercises and dressing in costume, Ms. Vecchia said, and they elicited many enthusiastic responses from students.

“I thought that ‘Women in History’ was fun and interesting,” sixth-grader Olivia Pouliot told Ms. Vecchia, according to her email. “I liked being able to dress up and act like people from long ago.”

Sixth-grader Keats Jason Brown agreed that the workshops were very interesting, and he said he learned a lot. “I felt like we really got to know the people from the play,” he said.

Eighth-grader Finn O’Callaghan said he thought the workshops were a great way to teach kids history. “Instead of sitting in a classroom, you are actually a part of the learning experience,” he explained.

Ms. Vecchia, a theater educator who runs her own non-profit organization, said the town of Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts,  Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank Charitable Fund, and private funding and donors paid for her program at Tisbury School. For more information, call 508-696-8738.