Get ready for an exciting and fun class! Today, students take on the role of judges as they not only investigate how memorials express collective memories, but also determine what makes a memorial good or bad.
Goals: to start exploring memorials and the memories they communicate.
- Students may need some help in their small groups as they discuss the criteria for what makes a good memorial. Be sure to be moving around the classroom to help as needed.
- During the judging panel, consider whether you want to share the context for each memorial before students vote, after they vote, or not at all. I would recommend sharing before so that students understand both the message and aesthetics of each memorial, but it is totally up to you!
- I would recommend introducing the final project to your students at least a day or two earlier so that they have more time to think about what event or movement they want to commemorate with a memorial. In regard to the nature of the final project itself, I have many notes/suggestions about how to make it most meaningful for your students. Read about them here.
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.
I still remember this being a really emotional last class. Even though everything was over Zoom, I felt so connected with my students. I also felt like I poured my soul into this course. Memory really touches every facet of our lives and it’s difficult to try to wrap everything that this course is and means into a 5-minute conclusion. In my mind, the best way to spend this last class together is to share our projects and to reflect on what we’ve learned.
Goal: to share final projects and conclude our class together.
- Think about the format through which you want students to share their projects – in front of small groups or the whole class, how will classmates engage with presentations?
- Consider writing students individual notes thanking them for their contributions to the class community and praising their achievement + growth over the course.
- Think about how you want to conclude the course? What do you want students to remember from this experience?
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome, as are your experiences – what did teaching this course mean to you? What did your last day feel like?
You’ve made it to the end. Please email me if you taught through this class, I want to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.