By teaching your students about the terms "veteran" and "sacrifice" you will be instilling pride for our nation's military in the next generation. No matter how we feel individually about this war or other conflicts, the men and women who have given their lives for our nation certainly deserve respect.
And even if you've forgotten about Memorial Day until now or left your planning to the last minute, the following lesson ideas are so easy to implement, you can use them tomorrow with hardly any prep time. Perfect!
- Do your students know the symbolic meaning of our American flag? Can they recite the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the National Anthem by heart? If not, there's no time like Memorial Day to make sure your students have the basic skills of being a proud American citizen. You can turn this information into a craft activity by following up the instruction with time to color the American flag or illustrating the words of The Star-Spangled Banner.
- Use the web site for A Million Thanks to support the U.S. troops currently serving our country. Through letter writing, you can teach about the meaning of the Memorial Day holiday and, at the same time, offer your students real-life Language Arts practice in the art of letter writing and thank-you notes.
- Share informative and entertaining books with your students, such as Christin Ditchfield's Memorial Day or Theresa Golding's Memorial Day Surprise. Afterwards, have your students draw to express their feelings about the sacrifices of people who fight for our nation's freedom.
- Ask your students to choose one of these Memorial Day poems and give them time to memorize the poem in order to recite it in front of the class. Memorization and public speaking are two important skills that are often overlooked by teachers, so why not use the Memorial Day holiday as an excuse to focus on them?
- Use Puzzlemaker to create a crossword puzzle or word search with Memorial Day vocabulary words customized for your students' grade level. Some suggested words might include: veteran, soldiers, military, freedom, sacrifice, country, general, remember, heroes, American, patriotic, generations, and nation. You can start off the lesson with vocabulary instruction and a discussion with your students on the meanings behind these loaded words.
- Peruse this collection of Memorial Day resources for kids and choose from the quizzes, logic puzzles, and online activities that are available for teachers to use for free.