What happens when one passionate teacher plans a special year-long study project? Pure magic!
Meet Banaadir Academy Social Studies teacher, Mr. Edgar. Last year, Mr. Edgar had a big idea and created a created a plan around it—to take thirty-nine high schoolers to Hamilton, the musical. He pitched his idea to the Principal and MTCS District staff and the tickets were arranged. But this was just the beginning, Mr. Edgar was going to involve students in everything Hamilton for the entire year. Mr. Edgar described the year as a road trip. Everything he taught, Hamilton was the driver and he used Hamilton to drive across the country of history. It was a very engaging and creative approach to learning—discussions about taxes, paper currency, college, geography and how one person can change the history of a country.
Mr. Edgar also wove history in with art—making it feel relevant, creative—and exciting. Students were making connections of their own about the world and history. Their projects were totally up to them. “Everything in this room was their idea; they had complete creative freedom.” All around the room were posters, paintings, slogans on the walls.
“I’m really proud, you have created a visual representation of what you’ learned and you can see it!” Mr. Edgar pointed to one of the many beautiful and interesting artworks on the walls of his classroom. The beautiful Sunset on Hamilton’s Life image painted on a big part of the wall was a remarkable painting and a number of students worked together to paint it.
Part of what makes Hamilton so great is the connection of history to modern life. Students made connections with all kinds of things. And the entire project is so culturally relevant. The cast in Hamilton is extremely diverse, with 90% of the cast being diverse, the play is definitely about America then, told by America now, which was fodder for a lot of important classroom conversations.
“This project brought the whole class together. Look at us, we’re all working together, it’s magical!” One student said.
And if you are interested in supporting the cost of the tickets, there is a GoFundMe link right here, or you can visit Chipotle at 229 Cedar Ave., South in Minneapolis on Saturday, June 3 between 4 and 8 pm and a percentage of the proceeds will go toward the ticket cost.