The Flag We Love Extension Activity
For a great way to celebrate Memorial Day or Flag Day, have students perform a poem from the book.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
About this book
Seeing the Winter Olympics reminded me of how flags symbolize national identity and history. Memorial Day and Flag Day present great opportunities to teach students about the flags' origin. I have kids perform a poem which, in rhyming verse, explains the history and symbolism of our flag.
- To learn about the flag while reviewing literacy skills.
- The Flag We Love by Pam Muñoz Ryan, (Charlesbridge, 1996)
- Scratch paper
- Overhead projector
- Blank overhead transparencies
- Permanent markers
Day 1: I read aloud the picture book The Flag We Love. We then talk about the facts that are included on every page. I explain that we will perform a choral reading of the poem for invited guests.
Day 2: I ask students to brainstorm a program for our assembly. Students usually want to add music, ask the audience to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and make small flags to wave.
Day 3: I copy each verse of the poem on a separate sheet of paper. (The poem has 17 four-line verses.) I also copy collections of the books' flag facts onto sheets of paper. Each child gets either a verse or a collection of facts. I ask kids to take home their “lines” and memorize them by Day 6. I send home a letter explaining what we're doing and inviting parents to our assembly.
Day 4: We stage our first rehearsal. I line kids up in the order of the verse they're reading (kids who have facts read them either before or after the poem).
Day 5: I ask each student to make a sketch that features the flag in some way. I tell kids that they will use the sketches to create an overhead transparency that we will flash on the screen while we perform our poem.
Day 6: I give students blank overhead transparencies, and ask that they draw their pictures on them with permanent markers. Kids lay the overhead on top of their picture so they can copy it onto the transparency. (They tape the “master picture” and the overlay to their desks to prevent sliding).
Day 7: I review tips about public speaking, such as be loud, be clear, and look at the audience. I then have students practice where they are going to stand, how they will get from their seats to that place, and so on.
Day 8: We do another run-through with the over-heads: each student places his transparency on the overhead when he recites his part of the poem.
Day 9: It's show time!
Adapted from "Celebrate the Stars and Stripes" by Tarry Lindquist in Instructor magazine, May/June 1998.