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October 25, 2017

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue: Celebrating Veterans Day

By Nancy Jang
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    With the excitement of Halloween getting closer and people already thinking about Thanksgiving feasts and vacation, Veterans Day sometimes gets bypassed. In my area of Southern California, we have naval and Marine Corps bases close by and many of our students come from military families. So for us, Veterans Day means celebrating people we love. After the Halloween festivities are over, I always take a few days to have my kiddos learn about Veterans Day, and how we honor those who sacrifice so much to protect our country.

    My favorite way to begin a unit of study is to read a few good books. Both Rookie Read-About Holidays: Veterans Day and Veterans Day are easy, quick reads to launch a discussion to define the word veteran. If you have students who have family members in the military, this is a great opportunity for family and community involvement! I reach out to families and the community whenever I can, and invite them in to read and share their experiences. It always makes any subject matter more engaging when you can bring in people from the real world, with real-life experiences who are willing to share their time.

    Last year, we had a wonderful opportunity when a local university with a veterans program contacted us to ask if we would be interested in having some veterans come and read to our class. The young veterans from all branches of the military spent the day at our school, going from class to class to read with our little students and it was an amazing experience for everyone. This year, I called upon them again, and we were excited to welcome Sergeant Deserhar Arrent, who served five years in the Army in Automated Logistics.

      

    Next, we read our latest issue of Scholastic News, highlighting Veterans Day. If you haven’t used Scholastic News, it’s absolutely a fabulous resource for timely nonfiction articles, and it comes with free videos and additional printables for an easy, no-prep lesson in social studies or science.

    After we read the issue, I use this cut-and-paste activity to help teach my little first graders about nonfiction text features. Click here to download your copy of the cut-and-paste activity.

    If you have access to Scholastic Teachables, there is a great little mini-book to share with the kids. If you don’t have a Scholastic Teachables account, you can try it free for 30 days. There are thousands of pages of high-quality material at your fingertips — all you do is search, and print!  

    In my class, I always try to incorporate community service whenever possible, and this mini-unit on Veterans Day was provided a great opportunity. We held a candy drive after Halloween for Operation Gratitude and called it Treats for the Troops. There are drop-off points all over the country, so check and see if there is one near you if you and your class want to participate. Kids get to donate candy to a worthy cause and parents are happy not to have tons of leftover Halloween candy in their homes, so it’s a win-win!

    During the rest of the school year, I allow the kids to write letters and cards during language arts centers. They always love to create heartfelt cards for the holidays to send to send to Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude accepts letters and cards all year.

    Here are seven other ways you and your kids can celebrate and honor veterans all year long:

    1.      Volunteer to help place flags on the graves of soldiers during the holidays.

    2.      Pledge the flag, and sing our national anthem proudly.

    3.      If you see a soldier, thank them for their service.

    4.      Visit the war memorials and other memorials that honor veterans wherever you are.

    5.      Donate time, money, and letters to organizations that support veterans.

    6.      Attend and wave a flag at parades and other events honoring veterans.

    7.      Make cards or write letters and send them to Operation Gratitude all year long:

     

    Making the cards takes minimal resources: red and white construction paper, blue crayons, glue, and a lot of "heart"! I cut out the hearts from the white paper. Students color half the heart with blue crayon. They cut out the stars from a page I printed and then glue to the blue part of the heart. They cut their own stripes from the red paper and glue. Send the finished project to:

    Operation Gratitude
    21100 Lassen Street
    Chatsworth, CA 91311-4278

    For even more ways to support our troops, visit their website: https://www.operationgratitude.com

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy

     

     

     

     

     

    With the excitement of Halloween getting closer and people already thinking about Thanksgiving feasts and vacation, Veterans Day sometimes gets bypassed. In my area of Southern California, we have naval and Marine Corps bases close by and many of our students come from military families. So for us, Veterans Day means celebrating people we love. After the Halloween festivities are over, I always take a few days to have my kiddos learn about Veterans Day, and how we honor those who sacrifice so much to protect our country.

    My favorite way to begin a unit of study is to read a few good books. Both Rookie Read-About Holidays: Veterans Day and Veterans Day are easy, quick reads to launch a discussion to define the word veteran. If you have students who have family members in the military, this is a great opportunity for family and community involvement! I reach out to families and the community whenever I can, and invite them in to read and share their experiences. It always makes any subject matter more engaging when you can bring in people from the real world, with real-life experiences who are willing to share their time.

    Last year, we had a wonderful opportunity when a local university with a veterans program contacted us to ask if we would be interested in having some veterans come and read to our class. The young veterans from all branches of the military spent the day at our school, going from class to class to read with our little students and it was an amazing experience for everyone. This year, I called upon them again, and we were excited to welcome Sergeant Deserhar Arrent, who served five years in the Army in Automated Logistics.

      

    Next, we read our latest issue of Scholastic News, highlighting Veterans Day. If you haven’t used Scholastic News, it’s absolutely a fabulous resource for timely nonfiction articles, and it comes with free videos and additional printables for an easy, no-prep lesson in social studies or science.

    After we read the issue, I use this cut-and-paste activity to help teach my little first graders about nonfiction text features. Click here to download your copy of the cut-and-paste activity.

    If you have access to Scholastic Teachables, there is a great little mini-book to share with the kids. If you don’t have a Scholastic Teachables account, you can try it free for 30 days. There are thousands of pages of high-quality material at your fingertips — all you do is search, and print!  

    In my class, I always try to incorporate community service whenever possible, and this mini-unit on Veterans Day was provided a great opportunity. We held a candy drive after Halloween for Operation Gratitude and called it Treats for the Troops. There are drop-off points all over the country, so check and see if there is one near you if you and your class want to participate. Kids get to donate candy to a worthy cause and parents are happy not to have tons of leftover Halloween candy in their homes, so it’s a win-win!

    During the rest of the school year, I allow the kids to write letters and cards during language arts centers. They always love to create heartfelt cards for the holidays to send to send to Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude accepts letters and cards all year.

    Here are seven other ways you and your kids can celebrate and honor veterans all year long:

    1.      Volunteer to help place flags on the graves of soldiers during the holidays.

    2.      Pledge the flag, and sing our national anthem proudly.

    3.      If you see a soldier, thank them for their service.

    4.      Visit the war memorials and other memorials that honor veterans wherever you are.

    5.      Donate time, money, and letters to organizations that support veterans.

    6.      Attend and wave a flag at parades and other events honoring veterans.

    7.      Make cards or write letters and send them to Operation Gratitude all year long:

     

    Making the cards takes minimal resources: red and white construction paper, blue crayons, glue, and a lot of "heart"! I cut out the hearts from the white paper. Students color half the heart with blue crayon. They cut out the stars from a page I printed and then glue to the blue part of the heart. They cut their own stripes from the red paper and glue. Send the finished project to:

    Operation Gratitude
    21100 Lassen Street
    Chatsworth, CA 91311-4278

    For even more ways to support our troops, visit their website: https://www.operationgratitude.com

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy

     

     

     

     

     

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GRADES: 1-2
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