Flag Day falls on June 14 and it provides opportunities for teaching about American history using the flag as a focal point. If your school is still in session, it is easy to find and plan lessons for Flag Day; however, with many schools on summer break, it is more difficult to reach out to those students.
Consider using Flag Day to promote student learning and maintain connections with students during the summer. Maintaining relationships with students over the summer is always an excellent idea, and it allows you to model and share the concept that learning continues beyond the classroom.
Here are some ideas to help teach about Flag Day specifically for those of you already on summer vacation. If you are still in session, quickly adapt any of these suggestions within your classroom.
- Plan a flag raising event at your school. Ask your local boy scouts or veterans group to teach a lesson on the proper way to raise and lower the flag and how to fold it correctly. If your students are already out for the summer, send invitations to their family members and ask your school to post information through social media to make sure everyone is aware of the event.
- Invite students to meet you at your local library to share and discuss books about the flag. This search from Goodreads (TeachersFirst review) provides a starting point for book suggestions. Ask your librarian to add additional input and show students where to find fiction and non-fiction books about American history.
- Although your students might not be in the classroom, they probably have access to a digital camera or mobile device. Ask them to take a picture of a nearby flag and tell you about its location. Share all of your students’ images on your class website for everyone to stay up to date with summer activities or tweet them out on Twitter.
- Share patriotic songs with your students. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (TeachersFirst review) has a wealth of lyrics to patriotic songs along with the instrumental audio accompaniment.
- Share a fact a day about the flag in the week leading up to Flag Day. Rare Flags (TeachersFirst review) shares many stories about the evolution of the American flag from its inception up through the current day.
- Another excellent website for learning about the American flag is Smithsonian Star Spangled Banner (TeachersFirst review). Share it with your students and challenge them to take the 14 question quiz. Ask students to send you questions about the flag to share with their classmates and see who can respond correctly! Share their suggestions either on your class website or create a site using one of the blogging tools found on TeachersFirst.
- Encourage students to ask neighbors and relatives about their memories of Flag Day. Different areas of the country have their own unique traditions. For example, some regions hold parades while other areas of the country celebrate quietly and take the time to place flags on the gravesites of relatives. Have students share their findings as a video response using Flipgrid (TeachersFirst review). If you are lucky, maybe some of your students will bring a relative into the video conversation so that everyone hears from them directly! The benefit of using Flipgrid to collect responses is that it is available on all devices and from anywhere.
- Does your town hold a Flag Day parade or celebration? Arrange to meet your students at the event. Ask each student to research Flag Day on their own before the celebration and share an informative tidbit they learned with the others.
- Create a short quiz for your students and embed it into your class website to test their Flag Day knowledge using this Online Quiz Maker (TeachersFirst review). This site includes templates for visually appealing quizzes that include your images and videos.
- Students love games, share Hold the Fort! (TeachersFirst review) as students work to maintain command of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. Can they keep the flag flying until the end of the battle?
One last tip, stick to what you and your students already know and use. Use email if that’s the communication tool used during the school months or share via your website if that is available. Don’t ask students to interact with an online tool like Flipgrid if it is new to them. Unless it is something intuitive and straightforward, try not to change things too much from what you know is comfortable for you and your students.
Sharing ideas with students becomes more complicated when school is out of session, but it isn’t impossible. Think of different ways to stay involved with your class and promote learning all year long. Summer holidays offer many opportunities to share and interact with students through shared experiences.
How do you promote learning during the summer? What Flag Day activities are your favorites? We love to hear from our readers with their ideas and suggestions in the comments below.