Top of page
Using photos, documents, and music from the Library's digital collections, students investigate rituals and customs of various cultures.
They then interview family members to deepen their understanding of their own cultural celebrations. Using their oral presentation skills, students present one cultural ritual from their tradition to the class.
Give students 5 minutes to answer the following questions:
Write student answers on board noting similarities or differences in rituals.
Tell students they will be investigating their family traditions.
Lecture and visuals: on christening, wedding, funeral, and holiday customs. Discussion of attributes common to many rituals:
Students will listen to and read lyrics to wedding and funeral music from:
Students compare and contrast themes, gender roles, and religious overtones in the music using a Venn diagram or other graphic representation of their observations. Questions for students to consider:
Students create Intergenerational Interview questions, and use the Intergenerational Interview Form to obtain information from parents and/or grandparents regarding christening, wedding, funeral and holiday customs in which they participated as children. Where possible, students should obtain visuals to support the presentation they will prepare about the ritual or custom.
Students choose and present orally to the class one christening, wedding, funeral, or holiday ritual. This presentation demonstrates their knowledge of the particular custom. Requirements for the oral presentation are visuals, outline of presentation and a student question for the test. The student test question will be used to encourage active listening.
Students also compare and contrast the ritual they have chosen with a historical counterpart studied during the lesson. This essay must include historical differences, modern similarities and reasons for continued popularity or disappearance in culture.
Write a comparison and contrast essay of a custom or celebration from two different sources in American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Include a bibliography at the end of the paper using the MLA or Chicago Style (2 citations) for Library of Congress primary sources.
Teacher evaluates students on their oral presentations and essays.
Students will also be evaluated by student-generated test questions.
Nanci Douglas & Mary Ruddy