215 Then the group will find a fun way to present a brief biographical sketch and the 6–10 most interesting answers to the class. • Assign each student to create an original piece of art for one of the historic people. Possibilities include a drawing, painting, or sculpture. Create a class art gallery. Have students write one-paragraph biographies in their own words or list 5 fun facts to accompany each piece of art. • Assign students to work in pairs to create a collage representing one of the famous Massachusettsans. Some of the images can be from our day as long as they accurately represent important ideas and facts about the historic figure. Create a class gallery of collages. • Ask students to select a familiar song and write new lyrics celebrating one of the famous Massachusettsans. The song should have at least 3 verses and should describe the person’s life and accomplishments. • Students can create and record a newscast or short documentary about a historic figure. The video might include acted vignettes from the person’s life, a mock interview with the person, and/or mock interviews with others who provide specific ideas or memories about the person. Show students (or assign them to watch) current newscasts and/or clips from documentaries before they begin so that they can see some of the possibilities. • If the person is an inventor, students can focus on the invention: its history, workings, and impact on our lives. A demonstration is ideal, but if the invention is unavailable (or too large or expensive), students should find film footage or make large, detailed diagrams to explain how it works. 1. Suggestions for Using Bay State Biographies The following are suggestions for assignments based on the Massachusetts biographical portraits. In most cases, students should begin by doing additional research on assigned historical figures. You may want to have them work in pairs or small groups. Online research can be conducted under your supervision at school or under parent supervision at home. • Have each student write a letter to one of the people in the portraits. Students should thank the people for their accomplishments, tell them what they admire most about their lives, and tell what goals the individuals inspire them to set for their own lives. • Assign students to create a piece of writing based on the chosen Massachusettsan. It can be a poem, short story, one-act play, dialogue, or readers theater piece, for example. You can have everyone use the same genre or can let students choose from a list of different genres. • Ask students to give reports. They can make them fun by including props, costumes, and other visual aids. They should be sure to provide key quotes and intriguing facts. • Have students brainstorm in pairs or small groups to come up with 3 great questions about each of the people in the portraits. Combine all of the questions as a class. Then create new groups and assign each group one of the famous Massachusettsans. Each group will research to answer the class questions about their historic figure and will also come up with 3 new questions to answer.
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