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Independence Day Teaching Tips

   By: Freda J. Glatt, M.S.

Independence Day is a good time to think about America, what it took to become a country, and the freedoms we enjoy. (These ideas are easily adaptable to any country.) Here are a few suggestions:

1. Children may enjoy making a red, white, and blue shaker. Use red, white, and blue glitter to decorate two paper plates; let the glue dry thoroughly. After mixing dried beans and uncooked macaroni, put a handful in one plate. Decorate further with two red, two white, and two blue streamers made of crepe-paper; each should be about 6" long. Put about an inch of them on the plate with the beans/macaroni mixture and staple the other plate on top in 1" segments. These can be used on Flag Day, the Fourth of July, or any time you want to shake with pride for the USA! (If you live in a different country, use glitter
and streamers in your country's colors and shake with pride for your heritage!) When you are finished with the project, use the activity for sequencing questions (ie: What did we do after this? What did we do before this?). Also ask critical thinking questions (ie: What would have happened if we hadn't stapled the plates together?).

2. Let your children help you make a rectangular cake and frost it to look like the flag. Ask children to predict if using red and blue food coloring will change the taste of the white food coloring. Were they right?!

3. Make a Fourth of July History Minibook using the symbols of the USA and customary of George Washington, the American flag, the Liberty Bell, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, fireworks, and family picnics or barbecues, for starters. Below each picture, write a sentence or short paragraph indicating the importance of
each to America. Perhaps the title page could have a picture of the cake you made in tip number 2!

4. Older children can research the dates of the following events and make a timeline:

a. The Declaration of Independence is signed.
b. Georgia becomes the last of the 13 colonies.
c. William Penn settles Pennsylvania.
d. The British are defeated at the Battle of Yorktown.
e. The Pilgrims settle at Plymouth.
f. The battles of Lexington and Concord are fought.
g. The French and Indian War is fought.
h. The Boston Tea Party takes place.
i. The first English settlement is founded at Jamestown.
j. The Treaty of Paris ends the American Revolution.

5. Have children write the names of several heroes and places of the American Revolution, then create their own crossword puzzle or word search!

6. Do your children like guessing games? Write clues for people and places of the American Revolution and have them guess the person or place described.

7. Think about the freedoms Americans have and discuss them. What does being an American mean to you? Try expressing your thoughts in an original poem or play.

However you celebrate, be safe. Happy Birthday, America!!

I hope these ideas have been useful and have inspired your own creativity.

And remember...Reading is FUNdamental!

About the Author

Freda J. Glatt, MS, retired from teaching after a 34-year career in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Her focus, now, is to reach out and help others reinforce reading comprehension and develop a love for reading. Visit her site at Reading is FUNdamental!

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