|Final Exam: Letter and Heirloom Final Exhibition
I have had students ask, at the beginning of the year, “What’s the point of studying history? Why do we have to learn about random dead people from 10, 20, 50, or 500 years ago? What do these people’s lives have to do with me?” I hope after a semester in this class most of your are not asking this question. But, just in case you are still quietly asking this question inside your head…history is the study of change over time. The purpose of it is to examine the choices of those who came before us to study their circumstance, their situation, their background and see what choices they made. We examine the consequences of their choices. This is the point, to use what happened before us to guide our current choices within our current circumstances.
Like most historians when I find myself wondering about something happening in my present life I try to imagine what a historical figure might tell me. In these imaginings I find support, and the truth. Most often I find myself somewhat ashamed, realizing that the problem confronting me in my time is so small in comparison to the problems faced by those at other times in history. But, always I find wisdom in their choices, their success and their failures. So, for your final, you have to as well. You will use the various individuals’ lives we have studied this semester to draw inspiration for solving problems in your life.
Before you get started:
Choose 2 people we have studied in world history, who will offer you wisdom.
Choose 1-2 problems you are wrestling with or issues you need guidance on.
Write 2 letters from the historical figures, where each historical figure addresses 1 problem:
Option 1: Choose 2 historical figures who give you advice on 2 different problems.
Option 2: Choose 2 historical figures who give you advice on the same problem.
Length: Each letter needs to be 1.5-2 pages long
12-point font size (written or handwritten)
Double-spaced if it is typed, single-spaced if handwritten.
First - the historical figure must clearly identify the problem or struggle you’re dealing with.
Because we cannot see the letter you wrote to the historical figure, the historical figure must reiterate the problem and what part of the problem you need help with.
Second - the historical figure must offer you wisdom and advice by specifically describing (1) what happened to them, (2) what they did in history in response to what happened to them, and (3) how their advice applies to your specific situation
Use specific events in history we have studied and the biographies of the historical figures to make the letter historically accurate.
Third - the historical figure must describe an heirloom or artifact they’re willing to give you, why it was important to them, how they used it, and why they think it can help you.
It does not have to necessary be a real item they possessed, but still needs to be appropriate for the historical figures.
The letters must also capture the “voice” of the historical character. In other words you must write the letter the way the character would have and sound like they would have (Be sure to still use proper grammar).
Example: Communists often use the term “comrade.”
You also need to consider the style in which the letter should be written, an old and crinkled letter, a typed letter, hand written, typed, etc.
You will present one of the two letters to the class on the day of your final.
The Heirloom or Artifact (Something the historical figure is passing down to you):
Create an artifact, or heirloom, that the historical figure would give you to remind you of the wisdom they wrote to you about.
They are passing this object on to you for inspiration so it should be symbolic of what they dealt with in life or what they believed in.
For both letters choose and describe an heirloom.
For one of the letters you will need to make and present the artifact itself.
Exhibit the heirloom before the class in the formal presentation setting.
The artifact or heirloom, must be at least 60% handmade by you.
Monday, December 7, 2009: Write a letter telling about and seeking advice about one or two problems you have going on in your life.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009: Turn in “Letter and Heirloom Final Exhibition Plan” with the names of the historical figure(s) and the problem they are helping you with.
Friday, December 11, 2009: Fill out and turn-in the rest of the “Letter and Heirloom Final Exhibition Plan,” with the information on the heirloom.
Monday, December 14, 2009: Turn in your rough draft of letter #1 and letter #2 (must be at least 1.5 pages each). *In class time in computer lab*
Tuesday December 15, 2009: Turn in the final version of letter #1.
(Some students will be presenting this day. These students will receive 10 extra credit points in their final category for presenting early.
Day of Final: Turn in 2 copies of final version of letter #2 and artifact (for one of the letters).
Turn in the following to make the Rockstar (AKA I turned everything in) list:
Completed “Letter and Heirloom Final Exhibition Plan”
Rough drafts for letters 1 & 2
1 copy of the final version of letter 1
2 copies of the final version of letter 2 (or whichever letter you plan to read aloud)
An artifact for the letter you plan on reading aloud.
Choose From the Following Historical Figures (you will need my approval you someone else in mind):
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Baron de Montesquieu
Queen Elizabeth I
King Louis XIV
King Louis XVI
Louis de Saint-Just
Olympe de Gouges
Comte de Mirabeau
Jean Sylvain Bailly
Marquis De Lafayette
Theroigne De Mericourt
Duc De Orleans
Any of the artists from the realism period
Examples of problems/struggles:
Peer pressure to do something you don’t want to do
Trouble finding something you are passionate about
Fear of something
Inability to reach a goal you have
A problem you think might come up in your future
Anger about something
Doing poorly in school
Dealing with loss
Lack of self-esteem