By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
The Stafford Elementary School gymnasium was transformed into a historical wax museum as the fifth grade students dressed up to represent famous Americans who were important to them.
Fifth grade teachers Karen Kulesa, Neil O’Rourke, and Michael Tartarelli all emphasised how much hard work their students put into this project. While the museum itself showcases the students in their historical costumes, each student was responsible for researching and writing a report on the person they chose, as well as to create a backdrop that helped showcase their choice.
The pamphlet handed out at the entrance to the museum reads, “This is the culmination of months of work by our students – their first venture into a research project. From choosing a subject in early September, to researching that subject, to writing their reports in October and November, to painting the background displays in December, students are excited to show you the final product.”
There were many historical figures represented, such as Walt Disney, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, J.P. Morgan, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks.
“We gave them an extensive list they could choose from,” explained Kulesa. “We tried to pick Americans who were easy to research, those that would have enough historic significance, and we tried to give them enough of a variety so that they could pick someone they could connect to personally.”
All three teachers said projects and events such as this help to prepare their students for the future, by teaching them research skills, writing expository essays, and by showing them that being a good person and working hard can help them to accomplish whatever they decide to pursue.
“It was a lot of work for them,” said O’Rourke. “But it’s preparing them with organizational tools, getting them ready for middle school.”
O’Rourke added that each report had to include how these figures enhanced the lives of others. This fell under the “Good Citizenship” unit in the curriculum.
“The kids had to research something that you may not know about the person; we call that the democratic disposition,” explained Tartarelli. “I think that they [the students] took that, before they were even famous, they still did some amazing things.”
This was the second time that the wax museum event was held at Stafford Elementary, and all three of the teachers hope to continue this project for years to come.
PHOTOS by JANELLE MORELLI