Make a Statement

Social Studies/Reading/Language Arts

Students make a statement about their position on the Revolutionary War using various means of expression.

What You Need

  • Examples of persuasive writing, artwork, and music (historical and modern)
  • Art materials as needed

What to Do

  1. Share with students examples of persuasive writing, artwork, and music (for example political and commercial advertisements, pins, posters, speeches, bumper stickers, special flags, songs, and national anthems). Include both historical (especially of the period preceding and during the Revolutionary War) as well as modern examples. Have students form teams to discuss what opinions the writers, artists, and composers had and what they were trying to persuade their audiences to do or feel (for example, stir patriotism, encourage resistance, decide a vote, sell goods, encourage travel).

  2. Bring the whole group together and point out that before and during the Revolutionary War, there were disagreements among Americans about fighting for independence from England. Point out that people expressed their opinions in various ways, depending on their talents and skills. Writers wrote pamphlets, articles, and editorials. Orators gave speeches. Artists of all kinds sent messages with their work. Composers wrote moving songs.

  3. Divide the class in half, with one half of the students prepared to express themselves on behalf of remaining loyal to England and the other on behalf of fighting a revolution for independence. Tell students they can express themselves in a variety of ways, depending on their talents and skills, just as people did at the time. They should keep in mind that their purpose is to persuade others to think as they do. To stimulate thinking, suggest the following options:

    • advertisement jingle
    • comic strip or panel
    • interpretive dance
    • drawing or painting
    • newspaper editorial
    • graphic presentation of statistics (for examples, taxes)
    • making a speech (original or adapted from an historical oration)
    • needlework (or design for a piece)
    • pamphlets
    • pantomime (with costume and props)
    • poem or song
    • posters
    • quilt design
    • skits

  4. Set a time each day for individuals (or small groups) to present their work. Where possible, match similar modes of expression that have opposing views.

Teaching Options

  • Have the groups create magazines with articles reporting on their various presentations. Provide models for them to imitate.

  • After students make their presentations, have them discuss as a group how it felt to take sides and then attempt to persuade others. Encourage students to share the difficulties they had in doing so and tell how they overcame them.

  • Suggest that students take up a modern-day issue and apply a similar approach to it. For this activity they would employ modern techniques and equipment, such as the use of still and video cameras.

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