- Sponsorship -

Students’ fairy tale figures live wax-ily ever after

The Big Bad Wolf claims he’s not as bad as people think. He blames a head cold for eating that pig. “I just wanted strawberries,” said this particular wolf, aka Gianluca Piccione, in his rendition of the “The Three Little Pigs.”

Gabe Stanton — billy goat on the outside, artist on the inside — waits for the museum to open

“I sneezed, and his house went down … so I ate him up,” he said. Then the wolf grabbed the strawberries and lived happily ever after.

Those details may not be in the fairy tale you remember as a child. Gianluca used a bit of creative license when he shared the tale he had written for Knapp Forest Elementary’s Fairy Tale Wax Museum. He was one of more than 100 “frozen” wax characters who occupied displays in the school’s classrooms and hallways to recite stories they had written.

In the wax museum, kids get to “step inside” a fairy tale character of their choice and become that character, said second-grade teacher Kim Ennis Crampton.

Goldilocks Lana Phebus and her video-recording mom

“This is a fun and creative way for them to practice what they have studied and learned,” she said.

At the stroke of 11:10 a.m. on the day of the museum, parents and friends crowded past fancy, homemade cardboard castle gates into the classrooms and hall turned into a magical kingdom full of “frozen” fairy-tale characters. Visitors pushed a hand-drawn button beside the characters to make them come to life and share their stories, just as it does in real wax museums.

First-graders came to see a dress rehearsal earlier in the morning so they’d get an idea of what they would be doing next year. Buddy classes in fourth and fifth grades and kindergarten class also got to visit the museum.

Pushing a button to unfreeze the characters

Learning through Acting

The three weeks running up to the wax museum engaged students in reading, writing and public speaking, all part of the language arts curriculum in the second-grade classrooms of Crampton, Beth Ewing,  Tiffani Elzinga and Haley Price.

Students also were introduced to fairy tale characteristics such as magic, good vs. not-so-good, and the rule of three found in stories such as The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears and the three chances Rumplestiltskin gave the miller’s daughter.

Nino Novelli was the troll from “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.”

The happiest ending for Nora Theil: when she got out of her sweaty costume

“Ello!” he said in his big troll accent as he welcomed onlookers. Nino’s version of the troll talked about trying to convince a goat to come off the bridge so he could eat him.

“All these goats keep crossing my bridge! And I was kicked into an ocean! Wow! Guess he didn’t want me to eat. How dare you! Not nice.”

The short-but-sweet 20-minute exhibit was fun for families and friends because they get to see what students are working on in the classroom, Cranston said. And they got the side benefit of helping their kids create costumes, build props such as Captain Hook’s aluminum-foil appendage, and figure out how to get Gretel’s curls to stay down with lots of pins and hairspray.

This is the 15th year the school has presented the wax museum, a type of learning project that’s become popular at elementary schools. Crampton said some of her students have told her it’s one of the best things that happens in second grade.

And, of course, it always ends happily ever after.


Family ties help students bring historical Americans to life

- Sponsorship -
Linda Odette
Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio or email Linda.


Students reopen fine-dining restaurant six months after closing its doors

GRCC’s The Heritage has reopened to the general public, with culinary students cooking, baking their way toward degrees...

Plotting for a plot

Students’ hand-drawn maps are meant for the safekeeping of memories and to spur ideas for when they write personal narratives...

Outdoor lover, zen seeker, middle-schooler hope-giver

Bill Cataldo is the new K-8 principal for Cedar Springs’ new Red Hawks Online virtual school this year. School News Network took some time to get to know him better in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...

Avid reader, Petoskey-stone hunter, lover of great outdoors

Melanie Hoeksema is the new Ada Elementary principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

Wedding singer, home renovator, intentional leader

Kristen Pennington is the new Knapp Forest Elementary principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU