Night of Notables

An Introduction to the Night of Notables

There is always a great deal of excitement on the evening of the Night of Notables.

There is a distinct buzz each year on the Night of Notables. Students arrive in their costumes, ingenious displays are set up, older students come along to see what the little tackers are up to, and teachers mill around, trying to contain the excitement of the masses and hoping to be educated further by their students.

The day and the evening work like this:

♦ In Periods 4 and 5 of the school day, students set up their displays.

♦ Year 7 students are dismissed at the beginning of Period 6, so that they can go home and rest up for the evening ahead.

♦ They return at 6.00, fully costumed, with their family in tow.

♦ At 6.30 sharp, the students are presented in the school hall. Students walk onto the stage proudly and deliver one sentence that sums up their notable person’s life.

♦ After the presentation, everyone visits the displays and admires the students’ hard work and inventiveness.


The interview with Tina below provides advice from a student who completed the Night of Notables project in 2009. Her work was so thorough and inspiring that I asked her to let me interview her for posterity. In order to listen to what she said, click on the “Play” button in the section on the top left of the glog below. Below the glog is more information on the Night of Notables.

♦For some ideas about notable people you might never have considered, read this page.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you can also view some useful handouts and formats for your poster and a checklist of ideas for your display, or you can go to this link to download these handouts.

♦If you are struggling to decide which notable person you wish to study, the websites on this page might be useful to you.

Ideas for your Display

First of all, here’s a picture to show you what a display could look like. This will give you some ideas for what to prepare. Of course, your display will be specific to the notable person you have chosen. This is just a general idea to help you start your planning.Night of Notables Display Table Example

The next graphic is a suggested layout for your poster. You do not have to follow it to the letter but you do need to ensure that you use paragraphs and cover all the topics on this handout. Remember that your personal response to the ideas and achievements of your notable person is the most important aspect of your assignment. Make sure you show how much you have thought about and evaluated his or her contribution.

To download a printable version of this poster design, click HERE or on the picture below:

Poster on notable person


Many of the tasks below can be done in class at school. Some may be easier to do at home. Students don’t need to tick all the boxes; we have marked the essential items with an asterisk. They may also have ideas not on this list.

qTablecloth* This may be plain or it may relate in some way to the Notable’s life: flag colours, perhaps, or symbols pinned or stuck on an old sheet. A display looks polished and attractive with a tablecloth, and a little bare without it.

qPoster* A summary of the main details of the Notable’s life. This will be handed in and graded after the night, and hopefully displayed in a classroom afterwards. Suggestions on how to set this out will be provided in class.

qName of Notable in large letters*

qName of student/s and their form group in large letters*

qQuestion box* The students choose ten questions that they feel confident they can answer about their Notable. Each question is written on a slip of paper or card and then put into a box to be drawn out by people visiting the display.

qPersonality box* This may contain symbolic items representing the Notable’s life. The box helps to fill the table and is also enjoyable for the students to create. An old shoe box is just right for this. Ideas for items that could go in this box will be discussed in class.

qCostume* Keep this as simple and low-cost as possible. Use old clothes and borrow from friends.qQuotations Printed out large, these can look great. They might be words said by the Notable person in a speech, or a quotation from a book written by the Notable, or words that someone else has said about him/her.

qTimeline of Notable’s life

qFood This may relate to the Notable’s life or country of origin.

qPictures of the Notable person I can help with photocopying these if desired.

qModel A simple version of something the Notable invented, discovered or developed, if appropriate. Anything that is 3D makes students’ displays look fuller.

qPowerPoint display

qActivities These could include quizzes, word searches, colouring competitions, or hands-on experiences.

qGiveaways Something small representing the Notable in some way. One group of students, for instance, gave out Shakespeare sonnets. One student created a little black figure and a little white figure holding hands, to symbolise the ideas of Martin Luther King.


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31 Replies to “Night of Notables”

  1. hmm…
    i was having a look at the sample you’ve got up there and i was wondering if the poster has to be A4…
    And 1 more thing i was a bit careless and threw away the paper of the ‘essential’ items needed for our display do you have any spare copys?
    Thanks Matt

  2. No, Matt, my sample is just a layout with no actual information. Your poster should be much bigger, maybe A2 or A1.

    I have more copies of the essential list and I’ll put one on this page soon. If you remind me I’ll give you a hard copy tomorrow.
    Ms Green

  3. Dear Lachy,
    It is hard to say how big your poster should be. I think at least 90cm by 60cm. The real answer is, big enough to take up plenty of space on your backboard, but not so much that you can’t fit anything else in! A better answer still: big enough to answer all the questions on the poster handout outline that I gave you. Let me know if I can clarify this any more for you!
    Kind regards,
    Ms Green

  4. ** this is for my last comment:

    can u please reply to me via email, coz i dont think im able to acess the blog very much. sorry for inconvenience.
    mason out. ^^

  5. Sounds interesting. But I think it’ll be quite hard for me to decide who to research. But it should be interesting.
    Anyway, Ms. Green, I don’t really get the meaning of one of the criteria. What’s a personality box? Please answer as soon as possible, thanks.

  6. Dear Amos,
    Forgive me, for some reason I missed this question in my inbox. A personality box is a set of symbols about the person’s life. They can be quite small objects that you scatter over your table or, as the name suggests, put in a box. It is up to you how you display these objects.

    For instance, a while ago a student chose Victor Chang, the eminent heart surgeon, for his topic of study. In the personality box he placed objects such as a play dough model of a heart, some surgical items, etc. A person who was presenting Roald Dahl might have a little model of a British Spitfire plane, some “Willy Wonka” chocolate, a picture of scenes from Norway, a tiny typewriter, etc. Do you see what I mean? Your personality box should show YOUR personality as well! It could even include interactive activities such as a lump of marble that can be carved with a chisel, to illustrate the difficulties of Michelangelo’s life, and so on. You want the people who look in the box to be intrigued and to ask you many questions.

    I hope this answer has clarified the point of the box for you.

    Kind regards,
    Ms Green.

  7. Thnx for answering the previous question Ms Green. But I’ve got another question. Can i do Eric the Red. Please answer ASAP.
    P.S.: Please say yes!

  8. I was just wondering if we’re allowed to make paper planes in the activity section of our project. Me and TC are doing the wright brothers and wondering if that was ok with you

    [size=90]THANKS, DEWANSH[/size]

  9. Do you mean like model planes similar to the Wright brothers’ first aeroplanes? If so, I think that’s a great idea, Dewansh!

  10. Dear Amos,
    I have a few doubts about Erik the Red. He has a few murders or at least manslaughters to his name, even though he was undoubtedly an influential and admired Norseman. Let me discuss him with the other teachers and read up on him some more. Then I’ll let you know by Thursday.

    See you soon.
    Ms Green

  11. Ms Green,
    Here’s a thought form my last comment. If I can’t do Eric the Red, then can I do Alfred the Great or Harald Hadrada? Please answer ASAP, thanks.

    From your ingenious student

    P.S.: The problem with Alfred the Great is that I don’t know what he wears!

  12. Thanks Amos 4 the help and Alfred the Great will be a great idea just dress up royally!

  13. Ms Green,
    Just a question on the Night of Notable poster. Do we have to have all the sub-headings on the sample poster (Introduction, Early life, Difficulties and Hardships…)
    I would rather combine some of them together. I would also like to take out a few and replace them with my own topics, such as Later life.
    From your very humble student,

  14. Dear Amos,
    Your idea for rejigging the poster sounds very logical and appropriate. The layout I’ve given you can be varied at will. It is just a starting point. It really is very sensible to vary your layout according to the person you are studying.

    Kind regards,
    Ms Green

  15. Ms.Green,
    I am kinda stuck on the question box. Is it possible that you can help me during class? Also, I can’t paint the map of England on the tablecloth good enough to be recognizable! Can you give me some advise on painting?

    From your not very artistic student,

  16. I’m doing Louis Pasteur and I intend to bring a microscope. For the activities, am I allowed to bring a scalpel?

    From your scientific child,

  17. Um…Just who are you planning to use a scalpel on? Aaron, you make me strangely nervous!

    I will discuss this with you it class. I don’t want anyone to lose a finger on the night.
    Kind regards,
    Ms Green

  18. MISSSS

    what do we do in the personality box cause it says on the tick sheet that we would discuss it in class..

  19. Do I have to put my things that are going in my personality box inside one? I’d rather put the stuff out on my table so people can see them.

  20. Answer to Bill, Dewansh and Ryan:

    Hi, guys! Thanks for your questions. Let me answer them in order.

    Bill, the display table is the same size as the average school table. I can’t give you exact measurements and in any case the school tables vary a bit, but I guess up to a metre and a half in length. The display board fits neatly behind each table and rises above your head at the back. It’s a little more complicated than that, however, because you can choose to use the whiteboards or pinboards that are already in the classrooms. These would give you more space if you needed it.

    Dewansh – the personality box is a set of objects that symbolise your notable’s life. For instance, if he/she was a sculptor you could have some sculpting tools, a block of marble and various other objects. You might also have objects symbolising his/her childhood, hobbies and later life: a favourite food, a pair of glasses, a book, a model you have made of something created by the notable person. Do you see what I mean?

    Ryan – you don’t need to have a box at all. In fact you don’t need to have any container. In your case it would be more appropriate to have a giant working model of an i-Pad, which you then donate to your history teacher afterwards. Only kidding. I have total faith in any decision that you make. Any design decision of yours is bound to be a good one.

    Kind regards,
    Ms Green.

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