Freedom of Worship: What are Your Family Beliefs or Traditions?


In this follow-up activity to the close reading of Freedom of Worship, students will reflect on the freedom of worship that they have today. Many of our family tradition and celebrations have roots in our heritage and faith. Students will choose one of these traditions or celebrations to illustrate and and research the origin of these traditions in their family.

Enduring Understandings/ Essential Questions:

  • There are a variety traditions in a community.
  • Many of our family traditions and celebrations are related to our religious beliefs and our heritage.
  • There are many examples of people who were not able to practice their beliefs in history.
  • Why do family traditions differ?
  • Where do our family traditions come from?
  • Within individual families that do have common traditions, are they celebrated the same way? How are the components of the traditions the same? How are they different?
Four Freedoms
These activities will take approximately three 30-40 minute periods.
Social Studies; Language Arts: Reading; Language Arts: Speaking and Listening; Language Arts: Writing
Traditions; Celebrations; Beliefs


  • Students share beliefs and traditions that are part of their family heritage through talk and illustration.
  • Students become aware of the similarities and differences of their family traditions and the origin of these traditions.
  • Through family interviews and research, students explore the origins of a family tradition.


In January, 1941, President Roosevelt’s State of the Union Address to Congress included four freedoms which he felt were the rights of all citizens of the world. World War II was heating up and he knew that the United States would probably be needing to take a more active part in the war. Up to this point, the United States was sending supplies to European countries. President Roosevelt included Freedom of Worship as one of these four freedoms. For his illustration, Mr. Rockwell created a collage of people, young and old, men and women looking into the light. Each following the “dictates of his own conscience”. Mr. Rockwell included artifacts such as beads and a prayer book which represent prayer materials of different beliefs. These artifacts are open to interpretation as the book could be the bible, the Torah, etc. The painting itself is monochromatic showing the reader that all people regardless of their differing beliefs are equal. No one person or faith stands out amongst the group.


Multimedia Resources:

Freedom of Worship

Classroom Supplies:

  • Chart paper and markers
  • Activity sheet or drawing paper
  • Lined paper for research
  • Writing tools


  • After having opportunity to review their close reading of the illustration, Freedom of Worship, students reflect on and think about practices that their families have such as attending church, celebrating religious holidays, birthdays, name day, etc.
  • Record traditions that are shared by students on chart paper.
  • Students illustrate one of the traditions that they celebrate with their families. Their illustrations should include details which tell the story of their traditions.
  • Assign students the task of interviewing family members to learn about the origin of the tradition they chose to illustrate. They might also gather further information through library and online resources.  E.g. My family celebrated Christmas. Our holiday decorations included many items common to other families who celebrate Christmas. However, gnomes, fruit (especially apples), Swedish horses and wooden hearts were also included among the decorations that hung on our Christmas tree.  These ornaments reflected our Scandinavian heritage. My great grandmother had immigrated from Sweden and my grandfather was an immigrant who was born in Norway.
  • After completing the research, students write a short expository essay to accompany their illustration.
  • Students view the work of their classmates  in a gallery walk. Students display their illustration and related text on their desks or table space. For a designated amount of time students move about viewing classmates’ illustrations and reading their related texts. Include a brief group share following the walk for students to ask questions of each other and reflect on what they learned.



  • Were students able to identify family traditions/celebrations that they celebrate?
  • Did all students participate in discussions and activities?
  • Did students show details related to the traditions their family celebrate?
  • Were students able to interpret the picture graph and give statements which reflected its outcome?
  • Were all students respectful during activities and discussions?


This curriculum meets the standards listed below. Look for more details on these standards please visit: ELA and Math StandardsSocial Studies Standards, Visual Arts Standards.

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).
Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
Explain why compelling questions are important to others (e.g., peers, adults).
Determine the kinds of sources that will be helpful in answering compelling and supporting questions, taking into consideration the different opinions people have about how to answer the question.
Identify the beliefs, experiences, perspectives, and values that underlie their own and others' points of view about civic issues.
Apply civic virtues and democratic principles in school setttings.
Use deliberative processes when making decisions or reaching judgements as a group.
Explain how culture influences the way people modify and adapt to their environments.
Explain how the cultural and environmental characteristics of places change over time.
Gather relevant information from multiple sources while using the origin, structure, and context, to guide the selection.
Use distinctions among fact and opinion to determine the credibility of multiple sources.
Construct explanations using reasoning, correct sequence, examples, and details with relevant information and data.
Critique explanations.