These Founding Fathers take to Twitter as they start a revolution There were anachronisms, to be sure. George Washington tweeted the whole event. Ben Franklin’s cane looked more than a little like a Halloween prop. One Founding Father wore a patch for the New England Patriots. And in place of his usual tri-corner hat, John Hancock wore a cheese head. “It’s a triangle,” sniffed Adam Rubinger, explaining the orange headgear he wore as he played the part of Hancock. Still, by the time this particular meeting of the Second Continental Congress was done, all the major points had been covered. The delegates had voted to rebel against Great Britain, drum up a militia and sign a short, to-the-point Declaration of Independence that read: “In 1776, we solemnly declare ourselves independent of Great Britain.” Who needs the real Thomas Jefferson and all his wordiness? As Davis Academy history teacher Matthew Barry saw it, everything went just fine in this year’s version of his annual eighth-grade re-enactment of the Second Continental Congress, the gatherings in 1775 and 1776 that led to the creation of this country. Barry played Washington, complete with buff-and-tan coat, white wig, tricorner hat and Twitter account. “Thirty or 40 people are following [on Twitter]
right now, including Independence Hall in Philadelphia, which is cool,” he said shortly after the start of the class. (Washington isn’t the AROUND only historTOWN ic character Barry plans JOE EARLE to bring into class during the school year. He’s also got costumes he uses to portray Sitting Bull, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and a pair of Civil War soldiers, one from each side, and a few others, he said. “If there’s a chance for me to dress up, I will,” he said.) This was the 11th time he had organized a recreation of the Second Continental Congress. The four-hour event has become a favorite part of the school year. Students look forward to it. Parents come and watch for part of the day. It’s Barry’s way of trying to get students engaged with history, and have a little fun with it, rather than just reading about it.
Students re-enacting the Second Continental Congress gather around teacher Matthew Barry’s laptop to videochat with a class in Chicago.
“It’s one of the most exciting parts of the eighth grade,” said parent David Rubinger, whose twin sons Adam and Eric were taking part this year and whose two older children had been through previous congressional re-enactments. “He really brings history to life in a way I don’t remember when I
was going to school.” This year, 58 eighth-graders from Barry’s U.S. history and government classes gathered in the school library to portray the delegates. Flags of the rebellion, including several showing a coiled snake and reading “Don’t tread on me” lined the back walls, and an image of a
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