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From Blackbeard the pirate to President Barack Obama, General George S. Patton to Princess Diana, second-graders at Holly Grove Elementary School channeled historical icons for an end-of-year Wax Museum event. The projects, which covered reading, writing and social studies curriculum, also earned money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Sue Ellen Tees, a second-grade teacher at the Holly Springs school, said the Wax Museum is an event that students look forward to all year.
Q: How do students choose their Wax Museum historical figures?
Holly Grove Elementary School is accepting online donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at http://nc.sy.llsevent.org/hollygroveelementaryschool.
Students read biographies of historical figures; we encourage them to choose people who have made an impact on history. The reading curriculum at the end of second grade stresses nonfiction texts where students can find answers to specific questions.
They also use writing skills to write multiple paragraphs, and writing about someone’s life gives them a good structure to use.
Social studies curriculum focuses on economics and being a good citizen. We talk about how even young children can work to be good citizens in their communities.
Q: After they read the biographies and write about them, how does the Wax Museum work?
Students come in on the day of the Wax Museum dressed as their historical figure. Even though we ask them to choose a person who has made an impact on history, we want the students to have an interest in the person. One girl who is from China chose Michelle Kwan, and one boy who is very into “Star Wars” chose George Lucas. We ask that they not spend a lot of money on the costume.
We open the Wax Museum up to the whole school, including parents and grandparents. Our class will be in the media center, and when people walk up to a “wax figure,” they deposit loose change in the figure’s bucket. Then the student “comes alive” and gives a speech in first person about the historical figure.
Q: How is the Wax Museum concept tied into the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society?
A teacher who was here when Holly Grove first opened started the Wax Museum concept. Then another teacher who was working on her National Board (Certification) teamed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. One of the representatives from the organization comes and does a presentation with basic information about cancer, using “Captain Chemo,” who comes and gets rid of cancer.
Each year, we raise at least $1,000 from our loose change donations. So far, tracks one and three have already raised $1,000.
Q: Have there been any Wax Museum figures that have stood out for you?
All of the students end up doing a really great job. One little boy this year who receives special education help for academics throughout the year ended up getting the highest grade possible; he did a phenomenal job.
Some kids really need an outlet; a project like this gives some kids a way of showing their personalities and knowledge.
The Wax Museum is an excellent end-of-year activity. It’s not just a party; it’s for a purpose. I think the message is that even though they are kids, they can still help out.