Flag Day is an American holiday that sometimes goes unnoticed with it being just a few weeks after the popular holiday, Memorial Day. It’s important that children gain a deep understanding of what patriotism – true love for your country – involves. Help students grasp the history and significance of the American Flag as we celebrate and honor “Old Glory” this June.
What is Flag Day?
In the United States of America, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th. This annual holiday commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States and celebrates the history and symbolism of the American flag. While the holiday isn’t too widely celebrated, it’s meaning and history dates back to 1777 when the United States approved the design for its first national flag.
What Does Flag Day Teach Students?
The American flag is an important symbol of our country. From its inception, the American flag has been an important part of our nation’s history. Learning the history of the flag will help instill respect for our national symbol. The origin of the flag represents freedom and the true meaning of being an American. Today, the American flag represents a symbol of unity, liberty, sacrifice, opportunity, and appreciation for the United States. Students continue to pledge allegiance to the flag each morning, giving them a sense of pride and honor for their country.
Classroom Activities for Flag Day
The American flag has a fascinating and colorful history. This June 14th, honor the stars and stripes in your classroom by having students partake in a few of these educational activities.
Become a Flag Expert
Using a Cooperative Learning Strategy – the Jigsaw Method – students will become an expert on the American Flag. Divide students into small groups of about three students. Next, assign each group member a specific topic on the flag to research (symbolism, history, flag folding). Once students research their topic, have them form temporary expert groups by having one student from each jigsaw join other students assigned the same topic segment. While they are in their expert groups, have them discuss what they learned on the topic and rehearse what they will present to their main jigsaw group. Next, bring students back together into their jigsaw groups to take turns presenting his/her segment to the group. Direct students to take notes while they listen to the presentations because their will be a short quiz on the material they learned.
Create a Classroom Flag
After learning about Betsy Ross, students will create a classroom flag. Show students the video “Who is Betsy Ross?” Then tell students that they will be breaking up into small groups to work together to create their own flag that will represent their classroom. Each group will choose their own symbol that represents their classroom. Then together as a class they will use the symbols to create one classroom flag. After students have completed their portion of their assignment ask them to compare their experience working collaboratively on the flag to the experience of Betsy Ross creating the first flag.
Create a Flag Mural
Together as a class, ask students to brainstorm what the American flag means to them. Ask students to think of words, symbols, pictures, or anything that represents patriotism and the flag. Then, as a class, have students create a mural that you can hang in the hallway for all to see.
Virtual Activities for Flag Day
One of the best ways to honor the American flag on Flag Day is to educate children and enlighten them on the importance of being patriotic. Here are a few virtual activities that will help to support students’ online learning.
Virtual Flag Folding Contest
A custom in the Army and Navy is to take special care of the flag each day; they ensure that it is lowered so that no flag touches the ground. Soldiers carefully fold the flag in a tri-cornered hat, emblematic of hats worn by colonial soldiers during the war for independence. For this activity, challenge students to read instructions on how to fold the American flag properly. Direct students to use a flag at home or a scarf or handkerchief if they don’t have a flag. After practicing, hold a virtual contest to see who folds the best flag and who folds fastest.
Virtual Flag Day Essay Contest
Challenge students to compete in a Flag Day essay contest. Students must respond to the prompt, “What does the American Flag mean to me”. Students can then read their essays on Flipgrid, and students can vote on the best essay to win a prize for first, second, and third place.
Virtual Student Flag Presentation
Have students design a flag to represent themselves. Ask students to look around their house for objects that are symbols in their lives that could help them create their flag. Ask students to think of words that describe themselves, as well as name objects that represent these qualities. Ask students to create their flag using these symbols as well as photographs and drawings. Have students use Flipgrid to showcase their flags and explain what their symbols represent.
Virtual Flag Day Ceremony
Have a virtual Flag Day ceremony and invite the entire school to participate. Enlist the art teacher to promote an online gallery of student artwork showcasing the flag! Ask the music teacher to help create a flag-themed playlist where students can show off their vocals with some patriotic songs. Have a Flag Day-themed debate where students virtually face-off on a flag-themed topic. Then, cap the ceremony off with a flag folding contest to see who can fold the flag the fastest.