Fourth-graders portray influential Hoosiers in wax museum


After the word “action,” students portraying influential Hoosiers had a minute to speak.

After the word “freeze,” they stopped speaking, and the people attending the event moved to the next speaker.

Once they heard from all 47 fourth-graders, they knew more about famous people with Indiana connections than they did before.

Students in Dee Beavers and Kristin Bear’s classes at Seymour-Redding Elementary School were given a person to research, and then they put together a Google Slides presentation or a posterboard for the Influential Hoosiers Wax Museum.

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Beavers teaches Indiana history to students in her class and Bear’s class. She said she thought the wax museum would be a great project, so she had her student teacher, Lindsey Wetzel, help lead it.

The first day consisted of researching. Students wrote an essay the next day, and then they spent the next two days creating the visual presentation and practicing their speech. Most of the students created a Google Slides presentation on a Chromebook.

“I think the big thing that I like to do is get them excited to show what they know,” Wetzel said. “They came in every day, ‘When do we work on our project? What are we going to do today? And when are we going to get to present?’ They are so excited about it, and it has been a great week for them. They’ve really stepped up and done a lot of work this week. They did really well.”

Beavers said it was great to see the students excited about the assignment and Wetzel take off with the idea.

“It gives them hands-on. It gives them a chance to do research and show their creativity,” Beavers said. “If they are doing Google Slides, it just shows how techno-savvy these kids are today.”

Fourth-graders Cayden Ellis and Wesley Miller were next to each other on presentation day.

Holding a plush toy of Clifford, Cayden talked about “Clifford the Big Red Dog” author Norman Bridwell, who grew up in Kokomo.

“I’m glad I got this one because I like Clifford just because it’s a giant dog,” said Cayden, who had read the book in the past.

Wearing suspenders and a bow tie and handing out samples of Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn, Wesley played the part of the man who grew up in Brazil in western Indiana.

“The first time he sold (popcorn), it was from the back of his car,” Wesley said of the most interesting part of his research.

Kim Louis Charles and Berfilia Tovar also were next to each other.

Kim wore a maroon dress in portraying Florence Henderson, famously known for her role as Carol Brady in “The Brady Bunch” television show.

Henderson was born in Dale in southwestern Indiana.

Kim said it was interesting to learn Henderson sang at the Indianapolis 500 and competed on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“I learned she had four children, and she was an actress and a singer,” Kim said.

Berfilia played the role of Jane Pauley, an Indianapolis native who made a career as a television journalist.

“I dressed up like this because she usually wears a dress, and I brought the microphone because she’s a news anchor, and she usually uses a microphone,” Berfilia said.

Portraying Madam C.J. Walker had special meaning to Khayla Bishop. Walker was an entrepreneur and pioneer in the hair care industry.

“I liked learning that she was a hairstylist because my mom is a hairstylist, and she inspires me to be a hairstylist,” Khayla said.

A theater in Indianapolis is named after Walker, and Khayla said she and her mom hope to go there sometime.

The students said they liked presenting the wax museum to their parents and third-graders.

“I like that we could make pretty much whatever we wanted on Google Slides, and we got to dress up as a person,” Cayden said.

“We got to know more stuff about Hoosiers, and I could experience how someone else was living,” Wesley said.

Berfilia said she liked learning about someone she didn’t know before.

Beavers said they chose to invite the third-graders because they may get to do the wax museum next year.

“It gives them something to look forward to,” she said.

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