Today’s class is another extended work day where all students should begin creating their memorials, whether that means drawing, building, or CAD-ing them. Your goal is to help students who are behind to catch up to that point.
Goal: start creating your memorials!
- I would strongly encourage you to add an additional class between this class (Lesson 17) and the following one (Lesson 18) so that students have an extra work day to create their memorials, especially for younger students who may be working on their projects entirely during class time and not at home.
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.
For this course’s final project, each student designs an original memorial to commemorate an event or movement from history that they believe is important. Through the process of creating their own. memorial, students will develop research and communication skills, a broader understanding of memory landscapes, and a thoughtful awareness of design aesthetics.
Here is more on the details of the project:
Note: I purposefully limited students to choosing either a historical event or movement for commemoration because I didn’t want students to design monuments to individual people.
Here is a guide that students can use to help them organize their thoughts as they design their memorial:
- Introduce the project earlier during Week 4, perhaps during either Lesson 12 (7/26 on the calendar above) or Lesson 13 (7/27), so that students have more time to think about possible topics.
- If at all possible add an extra work period between Lesson 17 (Tuesday, 8/3) and Lesson 18 (Wednesday, 8/4) so students can have more time to complete their projects.
- Project Requirements:
- How structured do you want this project to be in terms of milestone deadlines and exit tickets? How much guidance do your students need?
- Think about modifying the research requirements to the abilities of your students. If they are very familiar with research, include a more rigorous research component (perhaps a written report). If they are less familiar, provide ample resources (like databases, search engines, archives, and free newspaper links), clear expectations, and continuous support to your students.
- Consider whether students might be allowed to create their projects into another medium, such as CAD.
- For students completing drawings of their memorials, consider requiring students to submit another drawing of the memorial from a different angle so that drawing projects are equally rigorous as construction/CAD projects.
- For students who are building physical models, you may want to indicate a minimum size requirement; alternatively, you may just want to speak with each of those students individually to see what they are thinking.
- How will students present their projects? To small groups? To the whole class?
- How do you want members of the audience to engage with each presentation (compliments, questions, etc.)?
This is a really incredible project. I found the one-on-one meetings with students the most fulfilling in terms of pushing their thinking to go deeper and seeing what they come up with. I also had the incredible opportunity to host a virtual family/community showcase where students could share their projects in front of a large group of people including their families. You may also consider doing something like that so students can show off what they made and what they’ve learned!
Rather than teaching an entire course or unit around memory, you may want to teach a single elective class that covers some of these themes. Many of the lessons from the broader course can be easily adapted into 1- to 3-day elective lessons. Here is a particularly strong one-time elective lesson that you can easily implement into your classroom. This one-hour class examines the relationship between photography and memory. Before info below!
Goal: to gain an appreciation for the similarities and differences between photography and memory.
Feel free to lead the class however feels most comfortable to you. Also, you should feel empowered to modify/add/remove questions and discussion topics and you see fit.
As always, please comment below with any suggestions or advice you might have, especially if you have tried using this lesson plan, to help future teachers who may want to use it.