Tag Archive | "Wax Museum"

Wax Museum Bridges History, Technology and Homer Simpson

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Matt Groening, John Glenn - Max Mensch, Adam Arrequin - adjusted

Boxer Muhammad Ali, Actors Shirley Temple and Charlie Chaplin, civil rights leader Susan B. Anthony, First Lady Michelle Obama, children’s poet Shel Silverstein, comic book artist Stan Lee, “Simpson’s” creator Matt Groening—even 25-year-old Shaun White made it to the Sag Harbor Elementary School auditorium for this year’s Wax Museum.

Above: Max Mensch as “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening and Adam Arrequin as John Glenn.

The event, which took place last Thursday, April 5, marked the end of the annual biography project completed by the fifth-grade class at Sag Harbor Elementary School. After choosing a historic or otherwise accomplished person with his or her own biography, students were tasked with writing a report on that person, then taking on his or her appearance and posing, motionless, as if statues in a wax museum.

“There were books in a room and they gave us a choice,” explained Cooper Schiavoni who wore a grey wig and a white suit, and held a corn-cob pipe in his left hand.  When asked why he picked the person he did, he simply said, “I thought this guy looked pretty cool.”

Schiavoni was of course referring to southern novelist Mark Twain.  Standing next to him in a black turtle neck and jeans, Schiavoni’s friend Adam Janetti accessorized his costume by holding a black iPad.

“I read his whole biography,” Janetti said of the 600-page story of Steve Jobs, which was released last year. Janetti said he was particularly impressed with the fact that Jobs made a camera when he was in the third grade.

Malone acknowledged there was a healthy dose of technology-driven choices this year.  These included prominent computer innovators, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as well as media moguls Mark Zuckerberg and Shigeru Miyamoto—never heard of him?

“Neither had I, when I got him,” Tristan Remkus admitted after removing a moppy, black wig.

Remkus said the biography he chose told the story of a boy who grew up in rural Kyoto, Japan, a land filled with mysteries.

“One day [Shigeru Miyamoto] was walking on a hillside when he realized it was a cave,” Remkus said.  “He finally gathered the courage to enter, and he found out it was actually a ginormous, underground cave-tunnel.”

“He used it in his video games,” Remkus added.

These you may have heard of: Super Mario World, Donkey Kong, Zelda, among others.  Of all the books in the room, Remkus said, “I was very happy that I saw one that had to do with Nintendo.”

This is part of the thrust behind the Wax Museum project, Malone explained.

“What’s really interesting about this project is that the children gravitate toward somebody that shares their interests,” he continued

“The piece that makes me so proud is the reports,” Malone added.  It’s not about the name recognition or star quality, he said, “What the children really come to understand is their contribution to making people’s lives better.”

Wax Museum: Not So Frozen in Time

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Asking a group of ten-year-olds to hold a pose for more than 30 minutes might seem like an impossible feat, but each year the fifth-grade students at Sag Harbor Elementary willingly freeze in dramatic positions for the annual Wax Museum. Since the program was started, nearly 14 years ago, fifth-grade students have selected one famous historical figure to research, write a report on and ultimately impersonate in the culmination of the project – the museum gallery.

As friends, teachers, family members and fellow elementary school students walked through the gallery this year, they have might noticed a few changes to the traditional format for the Wax Museum. Through the use of PowerPoints, updated reports and the selection of computer-oriented characters, technology seems to be shaping, and changing, the Wax Museum.

“From the start of the project to the finish the kids are using computers,” said teacher Kate Berkoski. Although students must initially select a book on their chosen historical figure, she said children often draw upon Internet sources for their research. To create the backdrops, the fifth-graders find images from various websites and grid it onto the backdrop, before painting it in art class.

The report is now structured in smaller bits of information, describing the character’s early life, inspiration, claim to fame and a reflection section for the student. Teacher Jeff Reed reported that as technology becomes more ubiquitous he finds the duration of lessons must be shorter and packaged in smaller chunks of information, like the reports.
This year, three Mac computers were set-up in the hallway, for attendees to enjoy before or after the gallery, and displayed PowerPoints made by the children.

The “Who Am I?” PowerPoint’s were a sort of game, where little facts about a person are popped up on the screen before their name and image were revealed.

Students also chose some interesting, and unlikely, figures to portray, like Pierre Omidyar, the founder and chairman of eBay, and Jonathan Ive, the lead designer of the Ipod and Iphone. Fifth-grader Alex Mega selected Omidyar because he had previously purchased and sold trading cards on eBay.

However, the classic historical characters, like Helen Keller, Abraham Lincoln and Leonardo Davinci, could also be found at the museum.

Whether a student chooses a contemporary figure or a classic character, the fifth-grade teaching team hopes the core values of this interdisciplinary project remain the same.

“We want the children to look at the essence of a person’s life, to see what obstacles they overcame and what was their path to greatness,” said teacher Jeff Reed. “They all have the power to be great.”