10 Quick & Easy Ideas to Celebrate & Remember Memorial Day (With Examples!)

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Classroom Application
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The last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a time to remember and honor U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the Armed Forces. Unfortunately, this holiday also falls during one of the busiest times of the school year. Many teachers face constant disruptions to their schedule at the end of the school year due to field trips, testing, and other year-end celebrations, so it’s helpful to have some quick and easy activity ideas ready to fill unexpected breaks in your schedule or supplement current lessons.

You can prepare these activities in less than five minutes, saving you time and frustration while helping you provide interesting opportunities for students to learn about Memorial Day.

  1. Create a word cloud. Use AnswerGarden (reviewed here) to ask students, parents, and family members what Memorial Day means to them, then discuss their responses to learn about this holiday through the eyes of others. Invite participants by sharing a link or using the embed code to add the question to your class website. The tool includes a spam filter, the ability to adjust the number of characters allowed in responses, and settings that allow you to moderate responses before they post to the word cloud. You can share your ideas on our AnswerGarden word cloud here.
  2. Generate a song that celebrates military heroes. Use Suno AI Song Creator (reviewed here) to create a song about Memorial Day in your students’ favorite genre! Enter a short prompt to generate an audio recording of up to two minutes and a song transcript. After creating and playing the song, use the transcript to ask students to find examples of the heroism and bravery of military personnel. Suno created this song using the prompt, “a song about Memorial Day that celebrates the contributions of military heroes in a country style.”
  3. Create an informational video. Enter a prompt into invideo AI (reviewed here) to create a short video about Memorial Day in less than five minutes. We created this short lesson using this prompt: “Use a patriotic background and tell the story of Memorial Day in the United States, including important information such as its beginnings from Decoration Day through current history. The video should be approximately two to three minutes long.” Export your video and share the URL with students, or download it to your device and upload it to EdPuzzle (reviewed here) to make a short quiz about the contents. EdPuzzle even has the option to generate questions from your video automatically!
  4. Generate interactive lessons instantly. Use Curipod (reviewed here) to generate interactive lessons based on teaching standards or a short prompt. We used the prompt “Memorial Day” and selected third grade for the grade level to create this lesson that includes information about the holiday, standards the material covers, student polls, partner activities, a writing activity, and an exit ticket.
  5. Create and respond to AI-generated images. Enter descriptive language about Memorial Day into Image Creator by Designer (reviewed here) to create AI-generated images, then use the pictures in story-writing projects or with student-created poetry. Image Creator offers many prompt templates you can explore. Hover over any image to view the prompt that generated it, then click to open the template to personalize the content. This image uses the prompt, “Claymation style, female American soldier with a sad face on the front wearing a navy uniform with the name USA, dark blue eyes, and long black hair in a braid with a military cap. Holding an American flag with a patriotic background. Fashion, text 3D rendering, typography, illustration, painting, photo, poster, 3D render.” Using this tool allows students to practice using adjectives and explore how to use descriptive words to create images.  
  6. Build an interactive video puzzle. Take a YouTube video like this one about Memorial Day, copy the link from the URL in your browser bar (not the share link!), and paste it into QuestionWell (reviewed here) to create a series of questions for students to answer as they watch the video. This tool also allows you to export a question set to number of tools such as Quizizz (reviewed here), Kahoot (reviewed here), Schoology, and more. Here’s an example of a Google Form created from questions about the video that QuestionWell generated with just one click. Share the form with students without making changes or edit it to fit your needs. For example, you can include a link to the video, add a patriotic background, or add additional questions.
  7. Have students create an animated video in minutes. Use Animate from Audio (reviewed here) to upload a background image of a memorial or statue, select a human character, and have students create a one-of-a-kind animated video paying tribute to those who died while serving in the military. To share, download videos to your device or upload them to YouTube to make them easily shareable with families. Create a gallery of students’ recordings on your class webpage to share with families and veterans. Visit the OK2Ask archives to view an on-demand virtual workshop about the features of Adobe Express’s Animate from audio tool. 
  8. Listen to and reflect on podcasts. Listen to podcasts about Memorial Day, such as “Send-Offs” from StoryCorps or “When Was the ‘First’ Memorial Day? ” from WNYC studios’ The Takeaway. Use ideas from Project Zero’s Thinking Routines Toolbox (reviewed here) to encourage students to reflect upon the information shared in the podcasts. For example, use the stories routine to discuss additional perspectives and information to support the stories told in the podcasts.
  9. Create quick quizzes. Let Quizizz (reviewed here) create and share short quizzes about Memorial Day facts. Create a quiz from your content, a video, or slides, or enter a prompt to let Quizizz create the quiz for you. Personalize quizzes by adjusting the number of student attempts before providing correct answers, setting deadlines, and providing accommodations for select students, such as providing extra time to answer, reading questions aloud, and hiding the leaderboard. Share your quiz via a link, Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, Microsoft Teams, or another option. Try out this Memorial Day quiz generated with Quizizz AI.
  10. Share perspectives with Flip (reviewed here). Encourage students to learn about Memorial Day from friends and family by creating and sharing a Flip topic. This topic asks family members to share their Memorial Day memories and can be accessed by using the password “Memorial.” Make sure to turn Active Topic Moderation on so you can moderate responses before allowing them to become public.

As Memorial Day approaches amidst the hustle and bustle of the end of the school year, having engaging and easy-to-implement activities on hand reduces stress for you and your students. From generating songs and videos to exploring podcasts and interactive quizzes, these activities require minimal preparation time, but offering meaningful opportunities for reflection and learning.

What are your tips and suggestions for quick and easy Memorial Day activities? Share your ideas below so we can learn together!

About the author: Sharon Hall

Sharon Hall was a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math teaching. With over 15 years of classroom experience as a National Board Certified teacher, Sharon shares her content knowledge and reflections on ideas for basic classroom technology integration with us.

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