TeachersFirst's Veterans Day Resources
Explore these resources for ideas you can use to connect classroom curriculum to Veterans Day. Whether you choose to focus on Veterans Day and its history for one class period or to include a special curriculum project in honor of veterans, these ideas and resources will get you started.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this archive for rich, authentic primary source material on the lives of women in the military. Consider having students, individually or in groups, choose a veteran and present her story to classmates. Use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free), reviewed here. Supplement classroom materials associated with a wartime era with the photographs, posters, and diaries provided here. Use these stories as part of a special focus for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or Women's History Month. The archive would also be a particularly rich resource for students considering National History Day Projects.
Grades7 to 12
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In the ClassroomView images on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as primary sources for World War 2 information. Share a few images a day during your unit about the war. Use these online images to show WWII veterans and spark conversations in face to face interviews. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a World War 2 event, soldier, or Commander after viewing and discussing the site's images. Be sure to discuss acceptable use policies and how to give credit when using images found on the Internet. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomVisit this website and share the images of the Pearl Harbor attack on your classroom whiteboard. Keep the memory of this "Day of Infamy" alive, as we approach its 70th anniversary in 2011. Discuss how the tragic "surprise" helped shape our national defense policies and that even now, Pearl Harbor remains the subject of a regular flow of documentaries, dramatic productions, books, and articles. Help students see the connections in history by reflecting on the image of the well-known, torn American flag, poster with the quote from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: "... we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ..." Engage students in a critical thinking activity to compare and contrast those two famous battles. They can use the Venn Diagram online tool reviewed here.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomHistory teachers struggle for "coverage," or the ability to teach across all eras. U.S. History teachers often don't get to the Vietnam era, but these resources are a superb reason for pressing forward. Teacher resources include a number of guided investigations and classroom listening guides that can be incorporated in their entirety or adapted to complement lessons on the Vietnam era in a recent U.S. History class, on social change for a Sociology class, or on contemporary music as an agent of political protest for a music class. For independent or gifted learners, this site could provide the basis for sustained small group inquiry as part of curriculum differentiation. Start by asking students to explore the site and write a blog post about their initial impressions.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site! This would be a great resource on a unit about patriotism, nationalism, or even Veterans day itself. Have students make an interactive book about a national symbol or holiday using Bookemon, reviewed here and share it with "little buddies" in a lower grade class.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomSharing a video clip from a Japanese American World War II veteran would be useful in a discussion of the lives of Japanese Americans during the war. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. While many were sent to internment camps, others served honorably in the US military. Students who are doing research would also find these archives useful, provided they are able to register and gain access. If you can research and find your own World War II vet, consider connecting with them in person of via Skype reviewed here. Skype allows you to make FREE phone calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. If you have students working on history day projects, this site can demonstrate the power of primary sources.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse one of the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector to deliver a quick lesson on the history of Memorial Day. There are also links to good content on military history, military leaders, and the various physical memorial sites that honor US military veterans.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomRead the student stories about veterans together as a class as a model for a class assignment for writing about Veterans Day. Create a link on your classroom computers for students to use when researching American symbols. Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation from the information they learn there. Have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomCreate a link to the sites for students to read the information and play the games during your Veterans Day or Flag Day unit. Introduce the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to your Veterans Day unit and to gauge your students' prior knowledge.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you study Veterans Day, the effects of war, or people with disabilities. Ask students to discuss a time when they have seen service animals and how they have been used to help someone. Discuss the information on the site and locate the countries where the veterans served on a map to help students understand what it means to go to war. Ask students to choose one slide and write a story based on what they see in the image. If your school is looking for a schoolwide service project, consider raising funds for service dogs.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp students see real world applications of science and the relationship of science to history by exploring this site. Assign student groups to investigate one aspect of science/technology and its impact on the war's outcome. Some portions of the site include text explanations, so be sure to partner ESL/ELL students or weak readers with someone who can help. Have students create multimedia presentations using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here, or GlogsterEDU, reviewed here, and underscoring the role of that technology. Connect this study to more current technologies and their role in the military or national security. Challenge students to decide: Does science drive history or does the military drive science? Even science teachers can take a moment on D-Day or Veterans Day to highlight the role of science in changing the course of history.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomHave students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here. Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you don't have the time to complete online books, have students share the definitions using a class wiki. Be sure to also check out the interactive word puzzles!
Grades9 to 12
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