Who doesn’t love dressing up and pretending your a Famous American for the day?!
If you are a third grader at my school, you get the joy of taking six weeks in the winter to research facts, write papers, draw pictures, and memorize speeches about a Famous American of YOUR CHOICE. **I want to put emphasis on that because we allow students to choose whichever Famous American THEY are interested in. It doesn’t matter what race or gender they are…it is whoever they feel like they connect with the most.
After posting a Wax Museum picture on my Teaching Insite Instagram Page, I had hundreds of comments about how this looks at my school and how we orchestrate it. I am going to go through some of these questions with you and try to answer them to the best of my ability!
QUESTION 1: Why do y’all do this instead of celebrating Black History Month? / What category did they have to pick from to pick their person?
Since we spend over a month on this project, we allow students to focus on any Famous American that they want to (several of those are African Americans though). At the beginning of the project, we give students a list of over 70 Famous Americans as a guide to choosing one. They are allowed to pick a person of any race or gender as long as they are okay dressing up as them for the Wax Museum portion of the project. If they do want to pick a person that is not listed, they are allowed to write a couple sentence paragraph on why they want to be that person. Students select their TOP 3 choices and then it assigned on a “first come, first serve” basis.
QUESTION 2: What assignments are apart of this project? Do you spread out due dates?
We have six different assignments that are apart of this project: 1) Bringing in a book/article about their Famous American that is outside of the school library, 2) Completing their Biography Head Folder, seen above, that their final paper is stored in, 3) Completing a Google Slide with a picture, two facts, and bibliography about their Famous American, that is later compiled into a class book, 4) Writing their 5-Paragraph Research Paper – we chunk this up over the course of the five weeks, 5) Memorizing a 30-Second Speech as their Famous American and 6) Dressing Up as their Famous American on Wax Museum Day!
QUESTION 3: Do your students do a presentation as well?
I received this question MANY times because from my picture, the students looked extremely still 🙂 You can see from the question above that many different pieces come together for this project but they DO complete a presentation through their final paper and their memorized speech.
QUESTION 4: Do other students get to come and look? What about the parents?
This question piggybacks off of Question 3. On the actual Wax Museum Day, our third graders come to school dressed up as their Famous American and bring any props that they need. We set them up around the library (the center of our school) and only school students/staff are allowed to walk around to see for about 30 minutes. We do not allow parents to come see this portion of the project because 1) this would be WAY too many people and 2) the parents come that night at Open House. We always plan our Wax Museum Day on the same day as the school’s Open House. That night, our project becomes a “Living Wax Museum”. This is the chance for parents to walk through all of the 3rd grade classrooms, press the button in front of each student and they will come to life and give their 30-second speech. Parents can also read their final paper, see their Google Slide, and anything else the students have been working on.
QUESTION 5: Does your school help out with any of the costumes or was this basically the parents job?
This is a great question! The costumes are the parents job to figure out. We mention this project at the beginning of the school year so parents already know that it’s coming, but students do not know who they are researching until the project begins in late January. My school is in a neighborhood where buying a costume is usually not a problem, but occasionally, we have had families ask for help. We always recommend they check out the local thrift stores first because chances are, this outfit will only be worn once and there is no need to spend a ton of money on it!
If you made it this far, thank you! I know this was a lot of information, but I still didn’t cover all the ins and outs of it! Let me know if you have anymore questions!