Lorraine Berry (1949-2010) was born on the island of St. Thomas. She is best known as a 12-term senator and 2-term Senate President of the Legislature of the US Virgin Islands. She was an active member of the local French community on St. Thomas. She was awarded the Ordre National du Mérite, a French order of merit with membership awarded by the President of the French Republic.
Primary Sources in this Activity
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Before beginning this activity, help students to understand what a primary source is, have students provide examples of primary sources, help them with examples as needed, discuss why a poster is a primary source, and discuss the difference between primary sources and secondary sources.
Ask the class, does anyone know who Lorraine Berry was? As needed, the teacher can share information about Lorraine Berry.
Load the poster onto an interactive smart board and have students make observations together. If there is not a smart board, students can work in small groups at computers.
Also load the Analyze a Poster worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through discussing their answers to questions on the worksheet.
Analyze the Primary Source
You may load the Analyze a Poster worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions, print the worksheet and distribute to your students, or adapt the questions from the worksheet to create your own. Primary Source Analysis Worksheets
Have students complete the Analyze a Poster worksheet individually, in small groups, or as a class. Help students as needed to complete the worksheets. Review their answers and the observations as a class.
Engage students in a discussion using these questions. Is the poster trying to persuade the viewer? Who is the intended viewer? What is Lorraine Berry’s message to the viewer? Is Lorraine Berry already a senator when she used this poster? What clues from the poster helped you decide? Where can you find more documents and evidence to research Lorraine Berry?
Classroom Project 1: If it is an election year in the Virgin Islands, have students observe the posters, signs, billboards, bumper stickers, radio advertisements, political jingles and songs playing on the radio and from campaign trucks driving around the island, newspaper advertisements, TV advertisements, online advertising, speeches, guest appearances, and other forms of marketing that politicians are using to get their message to the public. Have students write down the names of candidates, how did they hear about that candidate (through what type of marketing effort), what position are the candidates running for, what are the candidates’ campaign messages, and any other observations. The class can then discuss the campaign marketing efforts of the candidates and share their opinions on which candidates they like best and why. Have students choose one candidate to research and write a short biography about.
Classroom Project 2: So, you want to run for office!
This activity can be used during an election year, or when learning about the election process.
Step 1: Ask students what they know about voting and the election process.
Explain that in an election, citizens vote, the votes are counted, and the person with the most
votes win. For candidates to promote themselves before an election, they often use campaign speeches and promotional posters. Have students seen campaign posters around the island during an election year?
Step 2: Explain to the class what a student council is. (A student council is a group of students, elected by their classmates. The council members job is to address concerns student have and organize student events and activities.)
Ask students what qualifications they think a student representing their class should have if they were running for the student council. Sample qualifications are:
• student at ____ Elementary School
• a student of grade _____
• at least ___ years old
Develop a list of the qualities your class representative should have. These may include:
• follows classroom rules
• listens to the ideas of others
Step 3: All students in the class are running for student council. Each student will prepare a
campaign speech telling why he/she wants the job, what his/her qualifications are, and why
he/she will make a good member of the student council.
If desired, provide sentence frames to assist with speech preparation. For example:
• My name is ____________________
• I am running for student council.
• I think I will make a good member of the student council because…….
Discuss the qualities of a good campaign speech:
• maintain a clear focus
• speak clearly at an understandable pace
• be convincing
Step 4: Each student will create a campaign poster. Materials needed: poster board, markers, crayons, photograph, glue, other art supplies. (Alternatively, if all students have access to a design program, then they can create a campaign poster on a computer.)
Have students display their posters in the classroom and invite a school administrator, a current or former senator, or parents to come in to see the posters. Have students take turns giving their campaign speech in class.
Step 5: Have a class discussion so that students can share any takeaways from their experience writing a campaign speech and designing their campaign poster.
Adapted from “Election Mania: Step-by-Step Activities to Teach Kids in Grades 3-5 about the Levels of Government, the Voting Process, and More!” by Priscilla H. Porter. Accessed September 12, 2021.