Director's Cut: Wax Museum

Emerald Connection, April 24, 2023

Last week, the Emerald Campus was fortunate enough to welcome more than a dozen artists, athletes, scientists, heroes, and everyday people who overcame great challenges and reshaped our world to our Grade Three and Four Historical Wax Museum.

Over the past few months, grade three and four students have been researching a heroic historical figure of their choosing.  I was fortunate enough to join them in the early stages of their work and then see the culmination of the research, writing, and creative processes when they hosted a live wax museum last Friday.

Jen’s class started out discussing what makes someone heroic and helping students build concepts of heroism beyond the comic book conceptions that dominate our modern culture.  When I first joined the students, they walked to the public library to learn how to use the library system to find non-fiction texts – Hooray for the Dewey Decimal System! – and how to select appropriate sources once they have a range of options to choose from.  For some students, it was also their first chance to get a library card, which was exciting and will open doors to many future opportunities.

From their early research to now, they took notes, gathered more sources, and began to structure their presentations.  The time spent on these processes is the heart of the student work.  As with so much of what we experience in life, the final and outward pieces are just the tip of the iceberg.  The hard work has been done under the surface over much time.

For the wax museum, students prepared a number of final products.  Every student wrote a biographical essay about their historical figure.  For many students, this was the first long-form piece of writing that they have completed in their academic lives.  Each student also created a backdrop for the museum that helped to frame their character.  These backgrounds are greater than six feet tall and took a lot of time to plan and execute well.  Students also created props and interactive museum exhibits.  Some built flipbooks and other physical interactive components while others learned to build slideshow presentations.  The resident class tech expert, Frankie, checked with me on how to automate a slideshow and then taught all of his peers who were interested.

The tip of the learning iceberg that was most apparent to the museum goers was a short speech that each student gave, in character, when animated by a visitor to their station.  It was great to see the poise that our students developed through hard work, repeated opportunities, good instruction, and a culture of performance at a high level.

If you were unable to join the wax museum – there were only a limited number of tickets made available given the small size of our gallery – there will still be a chance to see the student work.  The presentations will be recorded and be accessible with QR codes in the near future. Click here to see a preview of their performance.

Take care of yourself and others,
Greg Friedman
K-8 Director

The Connection