Let's Write About the American Flag!

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SWBAT complete a tree map describing the American flag. SWBAT make a star representing their state from the American flag.

Big Idea

Patriotism is all around us.

Prepare the Learner

15 minutes


I read The Star Spangled Banner  sing and read storybook that is published by Scholastic.  I like this one because the illustrations help students understand the song and what is happening in it.  As I read, I am reinforcing the foundational skills of directionality (right to left progression), return sweep, turning pages, picture/text connection and fluency.  This song also supports the theme of Patriotism.  This will also set the stage and springboard into the next portion of the lesson where kids are brainstorming what the flag 'has' and what the flag 'is.'



 If you do not have the storybook,  you could use this video and song:



After I read the book, I let the kids listen to the song.  I either show the video with the music or I play the song from a CD and flip the pages in The Star Spangled Banner storybook by Scholastic as the kids sing the words.

Interact with text/concept

45 minutes

Descriptive Flag Writing

By this time of the year, kids are ready for more than one sentence and a tree map is a logical and manageable way for my students to create multi-sentence writing pieces.  It helps them to brainstorm and record adjectives for the flag.  They compose a description of the flag that gives detailed  information about it.


We complete a tree map that describes what our flag ‘is’ and what our flag ‘has.’  Because we have done tree maps before, the kids are familiar with them.   We brainstorm and write three words that tell what our flag is (rectangular, large, red, white, blue, colorful, etc.) and what our flag has (stars, stripes, blue field, red, white, blue, etc)


I say: Boys and girls, what is a word that tells us what the flag IS?  How could we finish the sentence “The American flag is __.’    Turn and talk to a partner about what you think a good word would be to finish that sentence.  I give students a minute or so to share ideas with each other.  As they are collaborating, I am monitoring and assisting where necessary.


I go back to my paper on the document camera and ask: Who would like to share their idea?  We are going to write three of our ideas under the word ‘is’ on our tree map.   As students share their ideas, we write the first three under the word ‘is’ on the tree map.  I am writing the words on my tree map and the kids are writing the words on their tree map.  I stretch the word orally and  the kids tell me what letter to write as I say each sound.  This is a familiar format for them, so they know what to do.


After we finish each word I ask: What does that word say?  (students say the word as a group)


I follow this same format for each of the words we write.


For homework, students take home their maps and write two sentences that describe our flag.  They also draw a picture of our flag in the middle.   I like to send it home for two reasons.  First, it involves the parents in the writing process and they can talk to their child about their writing.  Second, it gives me an accurate picture of what kids can do on their own outside of the classroom. 

The following day, I review the students homework to determine whether or not the students understood the lesson.


Extend Understanding

20 minutes

American Symbols book-supporting and extending the theme of Patriotism


Shining Star Art

Because we just wrote a descriptive piece about the flag, I tie this quick star art to the flag and remind kids that stars are an important part of our flag.  I ask: Who remembers how many stars are on our flag?  We wrote about that on our informational flag page. (50)

This star will be glued with the Star writing in the Symbols book to compliment the writing piece.  It shows the kids the relationship between words and pictures and that books include both to help us make meaning.

We have an Ellison Die Cut machine and I punch a star for each student.  I have done two different things for the art for this writing. 


  1. Students choose a color of glitter they want on their star and I(or a parent volunteer) highlight the edges of their stars with glitter. 
  2. Students cover their star with white tissue paper balls.  I cut out small squares of white tissue paper (1” x 1”)  I show kids how to ball it up in the palms of their hands by rolling it between their palms.  They then glue that ball onto their star.  They cover the entire star with white tissue paper balls.


There are two ways to create the book and glue the writing with the art project:

  1.  Glue art and writing on an 11 x 18 sheet of construction paper either side by side or by placing art on top and writing on bottom.
  2. Cut 11 x18 sheets of construction paper in half and create a book with enough pages that will hold writing and art for entire unit.  Writing and art can be glued on facing pages.


I have made the book in two different sized versions over the years and here is how they both lay out!  Both sizes look great when done.  It is personal preference on which way you want to construct the book.


Lessons and learnings connect to each other within a lesson and/or throughout a lesson series.  This part of this lesson springboards from the text because the topic of the text is Patriotism.  Almost every picture has an American symbol in it.  This  art will be the picture representation of the  writing page in their book.  The rigor of creating this book is high. It cannot be done in one lesson or one day.  It must be taught in a series.  Also, it requires students to retain learning from day to day!