JANESVILLE GAZETTE: Wax Museum coverage

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From the March 14, 2014, Janesville Gazette

Reposted with permission

Turtle Creek elementary students charm visitors in Delavan ‘Wax Museum’

By Catherine W. Idzerda

DELAVAN—Poor Travin Biging was molting.

Not an easy position for an 11-year-old to be in, especially when he’s supposed to be portraying a duck on a bicycle.

Turtle Creek fifth grader Xandria Dreksler pretends to drink milk from a dish while performing her dramatic interpretation of the book Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes on Thursday.. Students performed their favorite books during an after school event called Wax Museum of Reading. Photo by: Dan Lassiter/dlassiter@gazettextra.com

And you thought your childhood was difficult.

On Thursday, fifth-grade students from Turtle Creek Elementary School in Delavan staged the school’s annual “Wax Museum.”

The event features four sections of fifth-grade students who dress-up as character from children’s stories. When visitors drop a coin in a box, the character comes to life, telling the story.

The event is a fundraiser for the fifth grade’s class trip to a Brewer game, and this year more than 200 people attended.

Because every school activity—from going through the lunch line to acting out a story while wearing a feather shirt—now has to be tied to curriculum goals, the Wax Museum was, too.

Fifth-grade students had to learn a text thoroughly, summarize a story effectively in writing and speech, understand the literary concept of “points of view” and practice the public speaking, explained teacher Jessica Hack.


Students use children’s story books Wax Museum because they’re trying to encourage younger kids to go to the library and check the books. One of the participants was even handing out little cards with the names of the books on them.

But back to Biging and his feather problem.

Biging was acting out “Duck on a Bike” by David Shannon, the story of a barnyard duck who wants to ride a bicycle.

“Memorizing lines is the hardest,” Biging said. “Remembering what the animals say is hard.”

The cow, instead of saying, “moo,” says “That is the silliest thing I have ever seen.” The sheep, instead of uttering the traditional “baaa,” say “He’s going to hurt himself if he’s not careful.”

His recital of the “Duck on a Bike” story was engaging enough to make people stop and listen. And, he remembered all his lines.

When a passerby pointed out that his feathers were falling off, he said, “Yeah, that happens.”

Stories included a children’s version of “The Secret Garden,” rendered in English and Spanish by Francheska Sandoval, 11; “Kittens First Full Moon” vigorously acted out by Xandria Dreksler, 11; and Jared Greidanus, 11 with a funny and charming version of “Who is Melvin Bubble?”

Just around the corner from Biging was Hadyn Emmerich, 11, another actor grappling with a fowl-related tale.

“Chickens to the Rescue,” by Nick Bruel, tells the story of chickens who—wait for it— come to the rescue in various daily emergencies.

Emmerich’s feathers were multi-colored, and he also was losing a few of them.

“The hardest part is trying not to laugh when other people laugh,” Emmerich said.

Were a lot of people laughing?

“It’s about a 50-50 thing,” Emmerich said.

When an audience member asked Emmerich to say “cock-a-doodle-do,” the young man said, straight-faced, “I’m a hen, not a rooster.”

The other difficult part of being a chicken in the Wax Museum?

“After this is done, they’re going to cook me,” Emmerich said.

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