Here are a few ideas for introducing Veterans Day in the elementary school classroom:
- Ask the students what they think Veteran's Day is for. Why is it important? What does the word 'veteran' mean?
- Inquire if any students have any relatives or acquaintances that are veterans. Have they heard any first-person stories about wartime?
- If you live in a military town, give the students a chance to talk about any family members who are serving our country currently. Emphasize that they are heroes who will be honored during future Veterans Day celebrations after finishing their service.
- Share quality children's literature as a starting point for a whole class discussion about the human experience of war. Possible titles include:
"Nim and the War Effort" by Milly Lee (for ages 4-8)
"The Wall" by Eve Bunting (for ages 4-8)
"Veterans Day" by Mir Tamim Ansary (for ages 4-8)
"Behind the Blue and Gray: The Soldier's Life in the Civil War" by Delia Ray (for ages 9-12)
- Have the students imagine that they are away at war. Perhaps they could each write a fictional letter back home, telling friends and family what it is like on the battlefront. Or they could write a page of an imaginary diary about their war experiences.
- Focus on the lives of heroes from America's wars. George Washington and other famous veterans can serve as powerful inspiration to young children.
- Invite a local veteran to speak to your class. Check if any of your students are related to veterans or contact your local veterans' group for names and numbers.
All About Veterans Day An in-depth look at how the holiday came to be and even a short discussion of how veterans are honored in other countries.
Department of Veterans Affairs Includes a special section for educators with school activities and cool stuff for kids.
Veterans Day A few lesson ideas that will help get your pedegogical juices flowing.
Stars and Stripes Forever A Veterans Day quiz to test your students' knowledge of this day.
Veterans Day Spotlight This focus on Veterans Day includes timelines of major American wars and many other interesting pieces of information.
What Is Veterans Day? Lesson Plan An outline for introducing the holiday to your class. You can use this as a guideline for designing your own lesson on the topic.
How are you planning to teach Veterans Day in your classroom? Post a quick message on our Elementary Educators Message Board. Your ideas are unique and could inspire other educators.
United we stand!