Local Honors

Language Arts and Art Activity

Students celebrate a historical or contemporary figure whom they admire.

WHAT YOU NEED

WHAT TO DO

  1. Give students several examples of local public (and private) places that are named after a notable person and ask them to add other examples to the list. These might include schools, libraries, streets, airports, and hospitals. Explain that these places usually have a plaque or other marker that tells about the person so honored. (If possible, visit a site that has a commemorative plaque or other marker.)

  2. Explain that these places often receive their names in a dedication ceremony that celebrates that person's life and achievements. Tell students that they are going to nominate a local person they would like to see so honored. (Advise them that this can include historical figures.)

  3. Have teams of students cooperate to gather information and draw up brief written nominations that include a general statement of their nominees' accomplishments.

  4. Ask a spokesperson from each team to present the nomination to the class. After a open discussion of the nominees, have the class vote to choose one person.

  5. Form a site-selection committee from representatives of each team. The responsibility of this committee is to take a walking tour of the school and select the best site for a marker. They should also make note of at least two alternative locations.

  6. Once they have approval from school authorities, have students plan the dedication ceremony. Assign each team responsibility for a different aspect of the ceremony, such as research, artwork, music, and writing. Include as many students as possible in the actual ceremony, which might include any of the following:

    An unveiling of the marker
    A playlet about the person's life
    A speech
    Informational posters
    Illustrated handouts
    A song, sung by the class
    A program for guests

  7. Once you have set a time for the ceremony, invite school officials and others to attend. Allow time for practice and a run-through. If possible, enlist a family and community member to take pictures and/or make a video tape of the dedication.

TEACHING OPTIONS

Have classroom writers prepare a publicity release on the dedication ceremony for the local newspaper. Or they might send the information in a letter to the editor.

Invite a member of the local historical society to speak about historical figures who have been honored in similar ceremonies. Students can then present the historical society with copies of the material they prepared.

Students may be able to excite enough interest in their honoree to have an annual ceremony established on a significant date in that person's life.


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