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Wall of Peace

Subjects

  • Language Arts
  • Civics
  • Holidays

Grades

  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

A good activity for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or September 11.

Objectives

Students

  • honor veterans.
  • think/write critically about the day and what it means to be an American.
  • help build a symbolic "wall of peace."

Keywords

Veterans' Day, Memorial Day, September 11, patriot, patriotic, patriotism, wall, peace

Materials Needed

  • paper and pen/pencil
  • tagboard
  • colored pencils or crayons
  • scissors

The Lesson

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:

  • The History and Origin of Veterans Day
  • Veterans Day
  • History of Veterans Day
  • History of Memorial Day
  • Memorial Day History
  • The History of Memorial Day

    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. 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:

    • What do you feel is the cornerstone of our country?
    • In what ways can we honor our veterans?
    • How do we show respect for our country?
    • In what ways can we, as individuals, on a daily basis help keep the peace?
    • What is tolerance?
    • How does tolerance promote peace?
    • Veterans have shown their loyalty to our country. How can we show ours?
    • Why is it important to keep honoring our veterans?

     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.

     

    Famous Walls
    In History

    * Walls of Jericho
    * Great Wall of China
    * Berlin Wall
    * Wailing Wall (Jerusalem)
    * List of Walls (Wikipedia)

    If you include a discussion of other famous walls with this lesson, you might want to include a conversation about personal "walls" -- the walls we build, such as walls of prejudice, pride, hatred, embarrassment, failure, envy, selfishness, and gossip. Have students come up with their own examples of "walls" that they experience in everyday life.
     

    Additional Idea
    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.

    Assessment

    You might assess student involvement in the classroom discussion; writing their paragraphs; and speaking.

    Submitted By

    Mary E. Noyes (with Barrie Citrowske), Minneota Public School in Minneota, Minnesota


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