Wall of Peace
A good activity for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or September 11.
Veterans' Day, Memorial Day, September 11, patriot, patriotic, patriotism, wall, peace
This lesson can be used to commemorate Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or the anniversary of September 11. In the lesson, students will choose a question(s) to respond in writing. The written paragraph will be attached to a symbolic "brick." Students' bricks will be used to commemorate the day and build a "Wall of Peace."
You might begin the lesson by talking about the holiday. These resources could prove useful:
If you and your students have computer access and are using this lesson as you commemorate the anniversary of September 11, you might visit The September 11 Digital Archive and read some of the email comments submitted by visitors to the site. If you are using this lesson around Memorial Day or Veterans Day, you might visit The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall.
Then write the following questions on a chalk/whiteboard or chart:
Ask students to write a paragraph in response to one of those questions. Have students/peers edit the paragraphs for publication. Once students have edited their paragraphs for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, have them write or type their paragraphs on a paper "brick." (Or they might write/type on white paper, then cut out and mount their paragraph on a red brick.) Build a Wall of Peace on a classroom bulletin board by having students read aloud their paragraphs one at a time; then have them place their bricks on the bulletin board. Leave space between bricks to represent the mortar that holds the bricks in place. The bricks in this classroom Wall of Peace represent important characteristics: peace, honor, respect, tolerance, and loyalty.
Present your "Wall of Peace" to another class, or to the student body at a special holiday program. As each paragraph is read, the student/writer will walk forward to add his/her brick to the wall. At the completion of the presentation, the audience sees a wall not built out of hate and isolation but rather out of peace and unity. Each student represents the mortar that binds us, and their statements represent the building blocks of peace.
AssessmentYou might assess student involvement in the classroom discussion; writing their paragraphs; and speaking.
Mary E. Noyes (with Barrie Citrowske), Minneota Public School in Minneota, Minnesota