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High School Students Meet Veterans

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Keywords: Interviews, Webpage, Social Studies, War, Veterans, Blog
Subject(s): Photography, Information Skills, Podcasting, Social Skills, Social Studies, History
Grades 9 through 12
School: Cardinal O'Hara High School, Tonawanda, NY
Planned By: Janet Kindron
Original Author: Janet Kindron, Tonawanda
Our Objective: Students will acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding of those people who have served our country during wartime. They will use this knowledge to assist them in their social studies and English lessons and on their examinations.

1. Teachers and the librarian will contact local historical and veteran societies. The goal is to schedule meetings with local veterans of several wars: World War 2, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Gulf War, and our current war. The teacher and librarian will secure agreement from these people to take part in the lesson.

2. Classes will be split into small groups. One small group will design the questions they would like to ask the veterans.

3. The small groups assigned as reporters will then go and interview the veterans, asking them the questions the first group designed. The veterans will be asked for any mementos they may be willing to share. We would like for items such as letters they wrote home, pictures from their time overseas, medals they received, newspaper clippings from the time, etc.

4. Other small groups will then record audio from these interviews. This audio will be edited and used on the class website. The goal for the recorders is to capture the essence of the interview and record the information that will help people visiting the website get a clear idea of who this person is and why it is important to honor them.

5. The small group that initially designed the questions will take the mementos that were loaned to the students and either take digital pictures of them or scan them on a scanner. They will upload these items to the website. These students will also edit the digital audio recordings and upload them to the website.

6. As a whole the class will then create a Veteran Memorial Website. They will upload photographs of each veteran they interviewed. On each veteranís section, we will have their photograph, pictures of their mementos, background information, and clips of their interview for anyone to listen to. We will also create a blog on the main page for people who visit the website to comment on what the students have created. Veterans are also encouraged to log on and share their thoughts and feelings about what the students have done.

7. The last section of the website will focus on the media. For the conclusion of the project the students need to design commentary on war and media. They will take each war and research the war and the media at that time. The media section will include information and timelines. They can discuss for instance, how the Vietnam War was portrayed in the US and how much of what was really happening was hidden from us and then either agree or disagree that this is still happening today.

Standards covered with this assignment:
∑ Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

∑ Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the governmental system of the United States and other nations; the United States Constitution; the basic civic values of American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.

∑ Students will listen, speak, read, and write for critical analysis and evaluation. As listeners and readers, students will analyze experiences, ideas, information, and issues presented by others using a variety of established criteria. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language to present, from a variety of perspectives, their opinions and judgments on experiences, ideas, information, and issues.

∑ Students will listen, speak, read, and write for social interaction. Students will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language for effective social communication with a wide variety of people. As readers and listeners, they will use the social communications of others to enrich their understanding of people and their views.

∑ Students will apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental needs.
The veterans of our world wars are a dying breed and with this lesson we hope to capture and maintain some of their stories and histories with a lesson such as this. We also feel that very often veterans of later wars such as Vietnam and Korea tend to be forgotten when discussing veterans and we feel their history and stories are just as important.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The interviews that will be typed up online will involve English language arts. The use of a blog and creating a website for this lesson incorporates technology into the classroom and allows the students to perfect their keyboarding and word processing skills.
The blog on the website will continue to be updated.
Links: Link to Veterans of Foreign Wars
Link to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Materials: Timeline, Web Page, Podcasting, Word Processor, Social Studies, Batteries, Camera Bags, Digital Voice Recorders, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 1 Computer dedicated to uploading of materials and website design, $650 each, total of $650.00