By Brandon Martin
Students at Carlisle School participated in the 5th grade Living Wax Museum on Nov. 22.
The project, coordinated by 5th-grade teachers Casey Thomson and Jacquelyn Penprase, assigned students the four-week task of extensively researching a Hollywood icon.
Students completed a research paper, made a presentation board and learned a short statement about their icon of choice. At the end of the four weeks, the students dressed like their icon and presented what they learned via the Living Wax Museum.
“The wax museum is something that we’ve been looking forward to,” said Jennifer Eastwood, a parent of one of the participants. “She’s had to learn how to study. She’s had to set goals. She’s had to go through the process of writing a research paper and put it all together into something meaningful,” Eastwood said of her daughter.
She added that she believes the project taught her daughter more than just celebrity facts.
“She had to speak to a lot of different people today and in front of a lot of groups. She had to learn these public speaking skills like how to make eye contact,” Eastwood said. “She learned things that are called soft skills, but they are really life skills.”
One grandparent expressed disbelief in how well the students did.
“It was amazing,” Benny Shelton said. “They looked so real and they were so disciplined. Learning all they have and being able to do it with this big group around them, I think that is something that I would never be able to do.”
Shelton’s husband also expressed his gratitude for the inventive teaching methods employed by Carlisle School.
“I feel like the school is making an effort to see that the children do learn and explore the possibilities in education,” said Bill Shelton.
This sentiment was repeated by other parents in the crowd.
“Certainly from an educational standpoint, it’s a lot of facts that we probably wouldn’t know about actors and folks,” said Greg Haymore, parent to one of the participants. “He learned a whole lot about the early life of his wax museum character and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring the application of what they are learning into perhaps real life.”
Tommy Jo Atkinson was relieved to see how enthusiastic her son was to be learning.
“Just seeing him do an actual large project like this, only at school and him coming home and being excited about what he has learned during the day, is amazing,” she said. “It just seemed like he put a lot of thought into it.”
One thing that seemed to stick with all the parents was the growth shown in their children and grandchildren.
“It’s been interesting to watch him grow over the time he has been working on it,” said Mark Jordan, also a parent of one of the participants. “He went from just reading the lines to internalizing the part and the character. It’s interesting to watch him mature as he went along. One of the things that we all have to do as we grow up is we interact, not just with a class, but we interact with the larger society around us. The nice thing about this is that he’s not just doing this for classmates. He’s doing it for parents but he is also doing it for people he doesn’t even know.”