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Historical Figures come alive for fourth-grade Students

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A wide array of famous people, both living and once living, paid a visit to West Hernando Christian School on Friday, March 29. Children in Mrs. Michele Durling’s fourth-grade class portrayed these historical figures in a Living Wax Museum. The famous personages included explorers, such as Leif Erickson and Christopher Columbus, as well as astronauts, such as John Glenn and Sally Ride. Figures from the Bible, such as Moses, Jesus and Ruth, and even Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Donald Trump showed up.

This was the third year that Mrs. Durling has done the Living Wax Museum with her students. It was a creative and fun way for children to learn in-depth about a particular famous person and utilize skills, such as reading, handwriting, and speech, that they had been learning in class.

The twenty-three children spent several months working on the project. The first step was to choose the person they wanted to portray.

Emami Long, who portrayed Oprah Winfrey, commented,”I picked Oprah because she does a lot of encouraging things. She built a school in South Africa and she’s helped a lot of people.”

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After the students did the research, they wrote a biography of the person in their own words.

“It was a big process,” Mrs. Durling stated. “They wrote several drafts and polished them.”

The next step was to write a speech in the first person telling a little about what the historical figure was known for. The children were required to memorize the speech, as well.

The students worked on the project at home, also. They made posters displaying pictures and information about the person they were portraying and worked on costumes.

“The parents were a big help with the project,” Mrs. Durling remarked.

The culmination of the months-long activity came when the students got up on stage in costume before parents, teachers and fellow students to recite their speeches. The children were poised and displayed their knowledge well.

Madelynn Zimmerman, who chose Amelia Earhart to portray, remarked, “The most interesting thing I learned was that she attempted to fly around the world, but didn’t make it.”  

Damian Martinez, who portrayed Leif Erickson, echoed the feelings of the other students when he said, “The project was a lot of fun.”

Mrs. Durling was also pleased with the efforts the children put forth and the results.

“They exceeded my expectations. They blew me away.”

The Living Wax Museum project is proof that history can be fun and interesting for students. It’s not just about learning facts and dates. It’s about the people who shaped history and impacted their world.   

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