Recreating the USO
This is a celebration of everything your students have learned about the WWII time period. Students will organize and present an educational yet entertaining performance. It is best if this is presented after school. The activity not only reinforces information learned about the time period, it incorporates drama, music and dance.
Performance/Product Goals for USO
- Choose music from this time period and perform it with instruments.
- Choose music and dances from this time period and perform the partner dances.
- Share highlights from their persona diaries in costume from part 1 of this lesson
- Act as paperboys and "sell" the WWII newspapers that the class created.
- Simulate radio newscasts from a news stories that were written
- Organize and make refreshments
- Prepare posters with the night's activities highlighted
Steps for Organizing the USO
Step 1 -- Give background information about the USOs of WWII to the students. The best situation would be to find footage or old news reels.
Step 2-- Create committees amongst the students: speakers, dancers, musicians, newspapers, radio announcements and food.
Each group needs to brainstorm what they would like to showcase and decide what costumes, props and materials are needed. An organized leader should be chosen for each committee. Everyone on the committee should be given a job once the final decisions have been made.
Each group should do research so that the dances, music, food, speeches and radio broadcast are authentic to the era along with the costumes and props.
Step 3 -- Bring the committees together and decide the night's activities in order. A sample one could be as follows:
- Master of ceremonies give general overview of the night's activities
- A band plays a few popular songs of the time period
- A couple of persona journals are read in costume
- A group of dancers will dance to the songs of the time period
- A news flash will come over the "radio"
- A famous person from the era will deliver a famous speech
- End with more music and refreshments. Class newspapers may be sold during the refreshments
Step 4 -- Every person should have some visible part in this production. Obviously, different talents work for different parts, but all of the students can be involved in some way.
- Choose a MC (Master of Ceremonies) who can take control of the activities and move them along with a great voice.
- Ask if someone has grandparents or neighbors who are familiar with the era. Ask those older people to volunteer to help with details and ideas.
Step 5 -- Practice the USO during class time. Each committee leader needs to make sure that jobs are being completed.
Presenting and Assessing the USO
Step 6 -- Present the USO to faculty members, administrators, parents, family members, other students and community members after school.
Step 7 -- Assess each committee by using the following criteria: appropriate content, delivery, teamwork, organization, props and costumes.
This takes a lot of extra effort, but it is so worth it. Students will always remember it and community members will love coming to watch.