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Fourth graders from Blue Ridge Elementary School perform a hand clapping routine, detail from poster. Photo by Patrick Mullen, 1978.
Fourth graders from Blue Ridge Elementary School perform a hand clapping routine, detail from poster. Photo by Patrick Mullen, 1978.

Explore Your Community: A Community Heritage Poster for the Classroom

Exams, Trophies, Dirty Socks: Community Traditions In Your School

Explore Your Community Poster Panel Two

Communities are made up of different kinds of groups—people in the same business, family, social club, religion, or ethnic group. These groups are usually proud of their own identity and their members have a strong feeling of "belonging"—sharing common knowledge and traditions. A school is also a community—with distinctive ways that students express themselves through stories and jokes, nicknames, clothing and hair styles, mascots, and good luck charms. Here are a few activities that will help you discover community culture in your school.

What You Can Do

The Trophy Case:

Investigate the trophies in your school's trophy case. Interview parents and others who were on the teams in the past. Talk with retired teachers and coaches. How did they celebrate victory in the past, and how have these celebrations changed? What memories of school sports do they have? Research pictures in old school newsletters and yearbooks. Create an archive of these materials for the school library or a time-capsule from this year's teams and their activities. Invite past champions to the school for recognition. Add research you have collected to the school's Web page or write an article for your school newspaper.

Are You Ready for the Game, the Test, the Show?

Interview classmates about the good luck charms, customs, or rituals that are used in your school before a big game, exams, or a school play. How are these charms or rituals the same or different from those your parents or teachers used when they were students? Write articles about your findings for the school newspaper and place them into your school library.

Clothes, Fads, and Hair Braiding:

What are you and your friends wearing? How is your hair done? What is in your pocketbook, book bag, or locker? What kinds of hats or caps, jewelry or make-up do you and your friends wear? What words do you use to describe something or someone that is "in" or "out" of fashion? What do clothes, hair styles, and personal decoration communicate about us as individuals and as members of a group? Pick a theme for your research, interview your classmates, take photographs, and create an exhibit that displays clothes, hair styles, and accompanying paraphernalia over the years.

 

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   September 30, 2014
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