Memorial Day at The Wall

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SWBAT to describe familiar events related to Memorial Day and write about them. Student Objective: I can tell and write about Memorial Day.

Big Idea

The concept of Memorial Day is difficult for kindergarteners to understand. By using Eve Bunting's book, The Wall, and by discussing familiar events, children will have a better understanding.


10 minutes

Today's language arts lesson is tied to Social Studies as we look at Memorial Day.  Although the book is not informational text, it is realistic fiction, and does give some important true details.  The video clip shows the informational piece.

Boys and girls, does anyone know what this weekend is called?  Maybe you recognize what holiday is on Monday.  It is Memorial Day.  Who can tell me what they think Memorial Day is  about? 

Memorial Day is a national holiday.  That means that everyone in the country can celebrate this day.  Many people do not have to go to work or to school.  Some people have picnics and parades. Who has special plans to do something this weekend? (Allow for three students to respond with their weekend plans.)

The real reason we celebrate Memorial Day is to honor the men and women who have fought for our country.  These men and women might have been in the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy or Coast Guard.  We are free to do many things because of their fight for us.

We are going to watch a short video about Memorial Day that will tell us more about the holiday.


15 minutes

An important feature of this lesson is knowledge building.  So many children do not know what Memorial Day is all about.  By reading the story, The Wall, and by watching the video clip, I am trying to build a foundation for their future knowledge about this holiday.  I think the children will begin to understand whether or not their holiday weekend activities are specifically related to Memorial Day.  When we look at a realistic fiction book, we can still call for students to answer questions that depend on them having listen carefully to the text and reference a section of the book to support their thoughts, not just by using their prior knowledge.

After watching that short clip, what are some things that you have learned about Memorial Day?  I know that some of you have told me that you would like to be in the Army someday.  Why do you think that this would be a job for you?  Do you think that it would be an easy job or a difficult job?  Why?

In Washington, DC, there are lots of memorials.  A memorial is a place where we can remember a certain person or group of people.  In the story that I am going to read to you, a boy and his father visit a memorial called the Vietnam War Memorial, or The Wall.  That is the same as the title of this book, The Wall by Eve Bunting.  I want you to think about how this boy and his dad are feeling, and also to think about how the video about Memorial Day and book, The Wall are related.

Here I read the story.  Afterwards, I ask the children what they think.

Who can tell me how the boy and his dad are feeling?  What was important about The Wall to them?

How do you think this ties into Memorial Day?  (Accept any responses.)  Does anyone in this class know someone in the military?  Were any of your parents, aunts or uncles, grandmas or grandpas in the military?  If you know someone who was, it is important to thank them for their service to our country because they have helped us to stay a free country.  This means that we are all able to go to school, to stores, to churches, on vacations wherever we want because we are free.

Many times there are parades on Memorial Day that will have soldiers walking in them. What are some other things we might see in a parade?  Maybe this is one way you will celebrate this weekend.  In a few moments, we will be writing about what we will do over the weekend.  Let's make a Memorial Day Chart of some things that you might be doing.  Are there any activities that you are doing that tie to what we have learned in our story?

The words I am writing on the board can be your word bank for writing about the weekend. 


15 minutes

As the children give me their plans for the holiday weekend, we comment about each activity to see if that activity has to do with remembering our service personnel.

I have a piece of Memorial Day writing paper for you to write what you think you will do this weekend to celebrate Memorial Day.  Some of you will know what you are doing, some of you will not know. 

This is a time where you can write about what you would like to do if you have the choice.  It does not matter if you really do these things or not.  The purpose of this writing assignment is to take what you already know about Memorial Day, and write about it.  I will be asking you if you think your Memorial Day plans are like the boy in the story's plans.  Will your activities relate to the the memory of our soldiers?

I will be coming around to help you if you need it.  You may quietly get A Little Help From My Friends, too.  Do your writing neatly, so that both you and I can read it.  Remember to put punctuation at the end of your sentences.