By TIM CLEVELAND
A project to end the school year at Dobbins Elementary was the Wax Museum. The project aimed to help third-grade students learn more about historical figures. All 45 third-grade students at the school participated.
“This project was started over 25 years ago by Elaine Morlan and Jeanne Kuty, the third-grade teachers at that time,” said current third-grade teacher Marlene Booher, who along with fellow third-grade teacher Debbie Patsko organized the project. “Today, we still find it to be relevant, as it covers several of the standards in the Ohio Common Core [read and comprehend informational texts; develop a topic with facts and details; conduct research projects that build knowledge about a topic; demonstrate a command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; report on a topic with appropriate facts and relevant details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace].”
The students chose a person either living or deceased to portray. They dressed as that person and, on demand, they recite facts from that person’s life.
“After choosing a person who has had an impact on history [with the teachers’ approval], each student begins his/her research by reading at least one biography,” Booher said. “Students may also use encyclopedias, magazines, or the internet. Students then use the information they have gathered to write a report, in the third-person, telling about the person’s life and contribution to history. The next goal is to transform the report into a first-person speech, which must be memorized. The culminating activity is for each student to dress as his/her character and present the speech to invited family and guests at a gathering in the all-purpose room.”
Booher said that she feels the students benefitted from participating in the project.
“I believe students learn many lessons from this activity,” she said. “In addition to the Common Core standards, students learn that a project/goal which may seem overwhelming at first, becomes attainable when broken down into smaller goals. They gain self confidence in giving oral presentations. Of course, they learn important information about a real person, which is beneficial to students who may not be interested in reading nonfictional selections. I believe some students are pleasantly surprised and proud of what they can accomplish.”
Booher also said she was pleased with how the Wax Museum turned out.
“Once again this year, I feel students did a tremendous job!” She said. “While working on the project, many students would eagerly share some interesting information they had discovered in the course of their research. It was easy to see the pride in their faces as they successfully recited their speeches. The growth in their self confidence from September to May was very apparent. In the discussions that we had afterwards, many said that it wasn’t as hard as they thought it was going to be. I am so proud of them and their hard work.”