What Do You Stand For?

Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming caught my eye at our book fair last spring in part because I’m always looking for ways to infuse historical heroes into my citizenship lessons, but also because I wanted to know more about the flag-bearing heroine so beautifully illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.
Look what I found in Mrs. Hoskins' room!
I recently heard it said that character is who you are when nobody’s watching AND what you’ll stand for when everybody is. Meet Imogene, a passionate little historian who just wishes that someone were watching when she takes a stand against a shoelace factory in order to save her favorite historical site in town.  This must-read will excite and engage conscientious citizens as they experience Imogene’s patriotism, activism, and perseverance; check out this book and consider the following enrichment activities, a few of which were inspired by a book review at commonsensemedia.org: 
  1. Talk about the historical figures that Imogene quotes throughout the book. Using the front and end pages, research the source of the quotes and the context in which each statement was made.  Encourage students to select their favorite adage and write about what they think it meant at the time it was said and what those words mean to them today.
  2. Take a field trip* to your own local historical society or museum. What kinds of things have been preserved and are on display?  Who decides what has historical value and what doesn't?  What is a docent?  *No field trip funds?  Invite a traveling trunk with museum-type artifacts to come to your class.
  3. Talk about genealogy. Trace your family roots and draw a family tree.  How do we keep our family’s stories in tact and why?  Have students explore the concept of a family crest.  Does their family have its own crest?  If so, what does it look like.  If not, have them create one.  What will they put in the design and why?
  4. Discuss ways that people can peacefully protest when they strongly believe in something. Why do people protest? Does it work? Why or why not?  Talk about a current controversy; use the Wisconsin teachers versus the Unions if you want a timely topic.
  5. What’s in a name? The author uses some unusually interesting names for some of her fictional places and characters. Use the book as a springboard for a discussion about names.  This could be a good time to have students create an acrostic poem using their names.  Ask students about the historical significance of the book’s title, too.
  6. I've heard it said that if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.  Find out from students what they think that means.  Then ask them what character traits they admire in themselves and others and then what other issues they stand for.
Free Spirit Press featured our kiddos in their catalog a few years back!
I keep this magnet set from Barbara Lewis' What Do You Stand For? series just outside my office; kids often come by to measure themselves and see what trait they've reached.

Click here to visit the author’s webpage and get even more follow-up activity ideas.  From this site, you can also contact Ms. Fleming if you want to tell her what you thought about her gem.


  1. This sounds wonderful! I love the line "character is who you are when nobody’s watching AND what you’ll stand for when everybody is."

    What a great lesson to install in our children.

  2. Those magnets are wonderful!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. Hi DEAR!
    "[Rosa Parks] sat down in order that we might stand up" Jesse Jackson (and various iterations attributed to others)
    We've tied the "standing up" concept to a study of Rosa Parks and then used the "Stand Up" song by Sugarland (I think I've shared this before.)
    That song STILL makes me cry--especially that a capella part!
    And, of course, I am off to Amazon to one-click!
    Thanks for the book recommendation and the great lesson ideas.
    You amaze me.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...