The ten previous entries in this series came from schools I have spoken at. Here’s one from a school I hope to speak at this fall: SAR Academy, in the Bronx.
I’m told that the students do a biography unit that culminates in an interactive “wax museum.” Okay, any school project that involves a wax museum is indeed cool, but you had me at “biography.”
For this wax museum, each student chooses a historical figure to portray; in other words, the kids are the statues. Alongside each “wax” statue is a poster explaining how to “activate” it. For Dr. Seuss, you might have to read aloud a page of one of his books. For King Tut, you might have to dance (not walk) like an Egyptian. The kids-as-statues then come alive, talk in character, and complete their mini-presentations by saying “If I could give the world one message, it would be....”
I’m sure this performance assignment inspires kids to take the responsibility of knowing “themselves” really seriously, some because they like to learn and others because they don’t like to be embarrassed—but either way, they get it done.
Making this even sweeter: this year, one of the kids did his project on Boy of Steel Jerry Siegel (co-creator and original writer of Superman). It wasn’t long ago when that was virtually inconceivable.