Students in Lower Elementary look forward to the Character Museum every year. Parents, grandparents, special guests and FOA students from other levels are invited to the classroom to view the Lower Elementary students dressed as their favorite character from children’s literature. The students prepare for this event through a homework project. This project is multi-faceted and has several goals. The students choose a character and are then asked to write a letter to their teacher as if the student was that character. They must then plan a costume to wear during the Character Museum, including a list of the things they will need and a picture of what the outfit will look like. The final step is to write a dialogue in the voice of their chosen character that they will share with their guests during the Character Museum. The students perform a Character Study by examining the qualities and characteristics that make up their chosen character, gain experience in writing letters, and take on the perspective of their character by writing their dialogue in first person.
This project utilizes skills such as critical thinking, analysis of information, application of knowledge, communication, and creativity. All of these skills will be needed to prepare students for the 21st Century workforce. Additionally, the students are asked before they begin the assignment, as they are in every homework assignment, to break it down into steps and plan when they will complete each step over a week’s time. This reinforces the time management aspect of our program that we work on everyday in our classrooms that will guide students throughout their life. The Character Museum is an empowering experience as our students take ownership of their chosen character.