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Activity

Beguiling Billboards: Finding Inspiration along the Road

 

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Beguiling Billboards: Finding Inspiration along the Road

Grades 6 – 12
Activity Time 1-2 hours
Activity Author

Cathy Allen Simon

Cathy Allen Simon

Urbana, Illinois

 
Publisher National Council of Teachers of English
 

What You Need

Here's What To Do

More Ideas To Try

 

What You Need

  • Computer with internet access
  • A digital camera or access to images online
  • Paper, scissors, pens, pencils, markers, and other art supplies (for billboard creation)

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Here's What To Do

  1. Ask the teen to think about the “Pass It On” billboards that he/she has seen around town or while traveling that have been created by The Foundation for a Better Life to instill values and create inspiration in America.  If the teen has not seen the actual billboards in person, introduce her/him to the website that includes all of the “Pass It On” billboards, broken down by values.
  2. Discuss with the teen the different values that are represented on the website and why she/he thinks that different people were chosen to represent these values.  Also, discuss values that you or the teen think are missing from this list, as well as other people that you can think of that could have had a billboard created about them.
  3. Explain to the teen that he/she will now create his/her own billboard about a person of his/her choosing.  Show the teen the examples that have been created by other students or adults.
  4. Ask the teen to choose a value (it can be one that’s already on the list, or a new one) for which she/he would like to highlight with a person of her/his choice.  The person that he/she chooses can be someone that he/she knows personally (such as a family member, friend, teacher, coach, etc.), or it can be a person from history or a celebrity.
  5. Brainstorm a catchy inspirational phrase/saying with the teen that relates the value to the person.  Keep in mind that these billboards are also meant to be memorable and entertaining!  Again, the teen can view the billboards page for ideas to help her/him get started.
  6. Help the teen obtain or find an image of his/her chosen person.  If this is a personal friend or family member, the teen may need to take a digital picture of this person to be used (be sure to ask for her/his permission!).  If the teen has chosen a historical figure or celebrity, make sure that the image they obtain online is copyright-free.
  7. Once the value, saying and highlighted person have been chosen and an image has been found, the teen can begin creating his/her billboard.   Teens have two options for creating their billboards:
    • Billboards can be created online using the “Create Your Own Values Billboard” tool on The Foundation for a Better Life site.  Here, teens can upload an image, choose a value (or create their own), create a headline, and write a short informational piece about their billboard.  Once finished, the teen can see his/her billboard go live on the “Create Your Own Inspirational Billboard” site!
    • If the teen prefers to create her/his billboard by hand, she/he can print the image of the highlighted person and create a billboard on paper or poster board following the same format as the online version.  The teen could also write a short story about why this person was chosen.
  8. Encourage the teen to enjoy sharing and showing off his/her one-of-a-kind creation!

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More Ideas To Try

  • Give the finished billboard project to the friend, teacher, coach, or family member you highlighted as a gift.  What a great way to show this person how important he/she is and highlight his/her achievements!
  • Pass it on!  Post your billboard online (Facebook, etc.) or at a school, community center, etc.  See if you can pass on the idea to others and get together a collection of billboards highlighting community members who have done good!

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