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March 20, 2012 > History on display at Sunol Glen

History on display at Sunol Glen

By Alyson Whitaker
Photos By Melody Mayer

As the sun began to drop behind the mountains on March 8, normally playful and active second and third grade students of Sunol Glen School transformed into "statues" and took their place on the school playground. Wrapping up their month-long Social Studies unit on biographies, students were prepared to present their very own "Wax Museum."

The theme for this year's event was "Famous People." While some students chose well-known names from current pop-culture or of historical importance, others chose lesser-known individuals, famous in their own right. Individuals included politicians, artists, actors, sports heroes, scientists, and more - everyone from Cleopatra to Benjamin Franklin, Gandhi, Dr. Seuss, President Barack Obama, snowboard phenomenon Shaun White, and even current teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber! Third grader Chace Koth chose to do his biography project on Phineas Gage, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in the early 1800's. His recovery and personality transformation following the injury changed the way scientists looked at and understood brain function.

Each student had to write a persuasive letter to their teacher about the individual they wanted to study. Then, they spent time researching the person, combing internet resources, books, and magazines. Students completed a poster about their individual, showcasing the highlights of their subject's life. They tied their research together by writing a paragraph detailing birth date and location, how or why the person was famous, five descriptive words about the individual, and an interesting and unique fact. Each student memorized their paragraph, and came up with an appropriate costume showcasing their biographical figure.

Multi-faceted learning helps students develop skills that will serve them well through their lives, not just through their elementary education. In addition to the core competencies of reading and writing, students built public speaking skills as they recited their speeches for dozens of parents, schoolmates, and teachers.

The Wax Museum has gained popularity through the years, and is well attended by parents and community members.

Heather Henderson, Melody Mayer, and Jamie Mangiardi are teachers of the 2/3 multi-age classrooms at Sunol Glen School. They assisted their students through the process and were extremely pleased with the effort and enthusiasm that went into the event. "Students really got into it, and took the assignment seriously. It was great to see them get excited about the impact these individuals have had on society," said teacher Melody Mayer.

Principal/Superintendent Molly Barnes applauds the efforts of both the students and their teachers. "I was delighted to see the vast array of individuals represented, and to see the students so eager to showcase what they've learned!"

Sunol Glen School is a public one-school district located between Fremont and Pleasanton, in the small town of Sunol. The school is currently accepting inter-district transfers from neighboring districts, and openings are available in most classes, grades K-8. To request an enrollment application or to schedule a tour of the school, please contact the school office at (925) 862-2026.

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