I really love this lesson because it touches on something really important – how do we as collective societies remember people who pass away. My hope is that in many ways, this class creates a space for healing and holding the memory of those who have died with us. At the same time, I want to preface this lesson with the following two notes.
First, this lesson is entirely western- and white-centric. I did not have time in prepping for this course to research non-western and non-white practices of mourning/memorializing the dead. If you have time, I would highly recommend you try to change the lesson to bring others’ perspectives into this discussion (and if you do, please comment below with information/resources!).
Second, this lesson touches on heavy material. Additionally, discussing death in a classroom, depending on the age of your students, may also be controversial. As always, be safe and really think about whether this material is good for your students.
Having said all of this, if you deem this class to be appropriate, I believe this is a fantastic last lesson to have with your students.
Goal: to understand how some societies commemorate individuals who have passed away.
- Especially if you choose to shrink/cut the section on Grove St. Cemetery or if you just have extra time, I would recommend having students look at some more Holocaust memorials after the class discussion. It feels like a fitting way to have students critically examine what they are learning.