Your classes are cancelled on various national holidays and commemoration days. Does that mean your students are free to lounge away, unless their parents or family take them to a commemorative civic event? Does teaching and learning stop if schools are closed for the day and resume with the text print or digital texts of the curricula the day after the break, as though the person or the event never existed. Not if your class is linked to a Chromebook! You and the students can tap a trove of online current and past ceremonies and commemorative actual adult programs on You Tube or by uploading past videos or audio files of such events which can make civic ceremonies real and inspiring for students to enact now within their classroom community.
For example, on January 28th, 1986 the Challenger Space capsule exploded and with it the dreams and lives of sic astronauts and one school teacher. While this event is part of mandated American history classes in grade 8 and 11, seeing a video of a ceremony where the children of these astronauts held white roses and looked up at the Astronaut Memorial at Kennedy Space Center thirty years later
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3420606/30-years-Challenger-New-voice-astronauts-memorial-html, immediately makes this sad and national turning point tragedy of 31 years past real to students today. Inspired by such an intimate and digital immersion in this tragedy, middle school students went beyond the Chromebook screened video to create the following student centered ceremony.
In place of the white roses, seventh grade students in each English classes vied for the honor of holding or lighting candles in memory of the astronauts. They had gotten this frequently used personal way of celebrating the memory of those deceased by watching and researching other public memorials using the Chromebook video and audio viewing features. Among these were: http://abcnews,go.com/US/wireStory/memorial-day-parades-ceremonies-honor-fallen-military-47711213. Watching these and talking about them with a mentoring teacher engages students as citizens now and offers them a possibility to create their own ceremonies developed by their Chromebook event based web and digital research and scored by appropriate public domain audios or music or original songs they upload. They can not only produce and present their ceremonies using these digital resources as anchors, but they can also upload videos and scripts of these school based, local community events to get teacher facilitated school network and distanced school and invited adult response. This truly enfranchises them as citizens now from their school in the circle of citizens nationwide. Talk about making a real Chromebook, yet teacher monitored connection!!
Often as we teach our students about the achievements of various leaders or groups or as we outline an event which had great impact on our society, we sense that the import of the facts and their significance are being lost on the students. How do we communicate the full emotional meaning of these events and leaders’ lives? Given my students’ response to the introduction of ceremonies which they can experience through Chromebook facilitated video, selected YouTube, and web research, why not introduce ceremonies into the curriculum?
As the students are studying a specific leader’s life or a group of leaders within a specific field, suggest that the leader’s birthday or designated national holiday/month would be an appropriate time for a Tribute/Commemorative ceremony. If the historical figure is relatively contemporary and accessible—such as Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Veterans Day ,Memorial Day, 9/11, or the Challenge Seven astronauts, students might use the oral history approach to interview parents, community members, relatives, and peers about the figure or event.
Among the questions students might include in such interviews would be: Where were you the day of _____’s death? What were you doing when you heard the news? What was your first reaction to _____’s death? In what ways did _____ touch your life? What do you feel was _____’s contribution to society? If applicable or desirable, the students might also collect monies for an organization involved in furthering the leader’s work or helping veteran families or helping first responders or contributing to scholarships celebrating a cause supported by the leader. Of course the interviews can be filmed and uploaded for ceremonies and civics folder and then projected on a back screen for the ceremony or imported as the narration or score. With chromebooks these files to add the personal voices students collected are readily accessible and infusible.
In addition, students should research the writings, speeches, recorded interviews and photos/paintings of the leader or group. As part of their research, students should extract what they perceive as significant quotes made by or about the leader. They can collect these is a word doc or create hand drawn or graphic art inspired by these quotes or use style of Draw 4Google logo which includes graphics for a daily historical events each day in the Google search. Students may comment on the applicability of these remarks to their lives. They can record this a narration for the ceremony or as part of a narration for a Power Point of their research including images and words and videos of the event or the personality. Representative portraits or photos might serve as inspiration for student artists to fashion a visual backdrop or graphic image of the leader. These graphics can be saved to their picture files on the Chromebook. Finally students should reflect on and share what they perceive as the impact of the leader’s ideals or efforts for those who come after him/her. From these student writings, art designs, oral histories, and reflections, a tribute ceremony can be fashioned by a committee of students or the teacher.
This ceremony might roughly follow the attached outline with modifications made for class needs. Of course this ceremony can be videotaped or audio recorded so the actual ceremony will be well rehearsed. Chromebooks can be used for student team practice as they listen to successive recordings.
1. Begin with a brief introduction to the subject or event which inspires the tribute—SPEAKER ONE.
2. Background of the project which students worked on in connection with the figure—SPEAKER TWO.
3. Feature two or three speakers reading from students’ oral histories—SPEAKERS THREE… (as many as desired).
4. Conclude with a speaker reading from a student’s reflection on the significance of the subject’s life or the event and how it affects the students today!!
The class and teacher may also wish to conclude the ceremony with a pledge to continue the work or to realize the goals of the leader or group!
A symbolic candle or candles are lit to complete the ceremony followed by a moment of silent contemplation.
Ceremonies can be easily infused into any social studies/language arts curriculum with interdisciplinary extensions in art/music. They can be written, researched, and organized by students from the upper elementary through the secondary grade level. As students work on these ceremonies, skills are enhanced in the following content areas: writing, communicating, oral expression, research, note taking, digital review of a range of texts and interviewing, thinking and reading. More importantly, through these ceremonies students are inducted into the stream of history’s continuum. They have a sense of being a link in a chain of social development. They celebrate not only the figures and events studied, but their own citizenship and positive involvement in society!!! Chromebooks capture their final ceremony products and allow the audience for these ceremonies to expand beyond the onsite attendees. Let candles light your students’ way to the core meaning of events and activists’ contributions!!
Dr. Rose Reissman,
Academic and Grant Funding Director for Sector 5
About Sector 5,
Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SFIV), is a Proud American Corporation, that sells, manufactures and develops new innovative consumer electronics under Sector 5 and other brands. The Company markets its partnership with Google approved Chromebooks to educational organizations, other B2B and B2C sales channels, with retail sales on Amazon. It is in development of several new products to serve the educational, business and retail markets. Follow the company on http://www.twitter.com/sectorfiveinc and http://www.facebook.com/sect5 and find further information at http://www.sector-five.com. For Sector 5’s Forward Looking Statements, click here.