The Notables: Making Significant Historical Personalities Come Alive, pp. 7 of 8

Conclusion: Presenting the Notables

This is the part that the students look forward to – presenting their research and hard work to an audience! Teachers can adopt many different formats:

  • Students dress up and take on the persona of their Notable. Their reports are written in the “first-person” as an autobiography. Parents and invited students interact with the Notables and ask the students questions to carry on a conversation with the Notable. Additional artifacts, backdrops (e.g., photos, quotes, and important highlights), a report, and/or a timeline of the Notable’s life are interesting additions to the presentation.
  • Wax Museum: Notables are “frozen” until someone pushes a “button” that activates the Notable to tell a brief story about his or her life.
  • Biography Box:  Students present their information in a box, with additional photos, artifacts, books, etc. Students stand beside their box and answer any additional questions or present a prepared speech.
  • Life-sized drawing or painting of their Notable:  Students trace around their bodies on “butcher paper” and complete the drawings with appropriate costumes. The drawings are hung up, along with their report, with students standing by their Notable answering questions or presenting a prepared speech.

Other interesting additions to the Notables project that that allow for the integration of art, music, or technology include:

  • Arranging the Notables in a timeline around the room so that students learn how their character fits into history, and who lived or is living during their lifetime;
  • Selecting music of the time period during which the Notable lived;
  • Having students do pencil drawings as “self-portraits” of their Notable;
  • Having students create slide shows or multimedia presentations;
  • Creating brochures or trifold displays of the Notable.

The key, however, is for students to highlight and emphasize the characteristics that make their Notable figure significant. The criteria for significance should guide their research and their presentation. They should use evidence collected from different information sources to convincingly explain why their Notable is a significant figure, their contributions, and the impact they made as well as what they tell us about a particular period in history or important events and issues today. By understanding and applying the concept of significance, young students can begin to learn about the past in significant ways.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!