Fly High with Flag Day
Wave goodbye to the school year with these lesson ideas on how to teach about the significance of the US flag.
By Christen Amico
With the end of the traditional school year just around the corner, one important and overlooked holiday is Flag Day. Although it is likely that this holiday, which is dedicated solely to the US flag, may have begun in 1885, it was originally named “Flag Day” by a kindergarten teacher. In 1889, George Balch christened June 14th Flag Day as a way to celebrate the anniversary of the Resolution of the Flag in 1777. For many years, school children waved flags and sang patriotic songs in honor of the flag’s birthday. Finally, in 1949, President Truman signed an act of congress declaring that each June 14th be recognized as Flag Day. The month of June is a great time to teach about the stars and stripes, as well as the power of ordinary school children to impact US history.
The Flag's Timeline
The development of the US flag and the creation and implementation of Flag Day has been a long and arduous process. Encourage learners to research the important events and people that have led to the holiday as it is known today. Use visual aids, photographs of presidents, and graphic organizers to help organize the timeline so that it is easy to read and follow.
Designing the US Flag
Betsy Ross is most known for her original design of the US flag. Her design consisted of thirteen stars representing the original thirteen colonies. Using construction paper, students can recreate both the original and modern US flags in order to compare and contrast them. By understanding the symbolism and importance of the flag, scholars can note the similarities and differences between the two flags and better understand how the flag has changed over the years.
Design Your Own Flag
Take this opportunity to have your pupils think about what is important to them. Then have them create a classroom flag or a family flag. By doing so, learners can analyze critical events, colors, and symbols of their own lives. This lesson can be linked to a visual arts lesson on design, as well as to a written component involving the development of values within a community. These projects would be great to display at your school’s Open House.
Pledge Allegiance to the Flag
Flag Day is also a great way to teach younger children about the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. Although school children repeat this pledge daily, few really understand its meaning. Teachers can review the vocabulary words such as:
This will not only help with comprehension, but will also help to build respect for the flag. One idea is to actually have children copy the words to the Pledge of Allegiance onto the white stripes of a flag picture.
Watercolor Resist Flag Art Project
Another fun art activity would be to use white crayons or white oil pastels to draw fifty stars and six white stripes. Paint over the stars with blue watercolor and the stripes with red watercolor. This artistic version of the American flag can be enhanced with lyrics to patriotic songs or poems. Silver star stickers or glitter could also be used in lieu of drawing all fifty stars on the flag.
With all the craziness of the end of the school year soon approaching, it is imperative for teachers and parents to remain focused on learning. Learning about Flag Day can easily be integrated into any grade level or social studies curriculum, or even taught in conjunction with Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.
More Great Flag Day Activities:
This is a good Flag Day vocabulary worksheet designed for upper graders. Unfortunately there is not an answer sheet, but the words would also be great for English language learners.
Here is an easy to use paragraph explaining the origin and meaning of Flag Day. Young children can easily trace over the sentences and glue next to a picture of an American Flag.
Use this outline to encourage young writers to create a poem about Flag Day. Each letter represents an important word or phrase about our country and the flag.
After correctly coloring in the flag, learners can answer questions at the bottom about the colors and reasons behind them. This resource is most useful for 1-3rd graders.