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Independence Day


Whole Language Activities for Independence Day













More or Less"I Pledge..." | My Country, 'Tis of Thee |
Top Secret | A Family Flag

More or Less

Copy watermelon pattern below onto heavy white paper, color, cut out, and laminate. Place children in pairs, and give each pair one laminated melon slice and a wipe-off marker. One child holds the melon where the other cannot see it, chooses a number from a pre-assigned ranged of numbers (i.e. a number between 1-20, 50-100, etc.), and draws that many seeds on the melon. (For numbers over fifty or one hundred, you may direct students to right the numerals rather than drawing seeds.)

After he or she has finished drawing, the other player must try to guess the number of seeds without seeing the picture. The student who drew the seeds must tell the guesser whether the number of seeds on the melon is more or less than the number guessed. When the correct number is guessed, students change roles.

In a larger ESL/EFL setting, you may group students into teams of twos. Team A Player 1 draws. Team B Player 1 guesses. Team B Player one responds with "more" or "less." Team B Player 2 makes the next guess. Players alternate guessing and offering hints. If a member of the team providing hints makes a mistake, his or her partner must correct it, or the round is forfeited to the other team.

watermelon pattern


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"I Pledge..."

Review  with children the Pledge of Allegiance:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Explain that the word "pledge" is a synonym for the words "promise" or  "guarantee." Brainstorm together a a list of situations in which people make pledges or promises (a public official being sworn into office, a doctor taking the Hippocratic oath, a bride and groom exchanging wedding vows, etc.). Many pledges or guarantees are written down so that both the person who is making the promise and the person(s) receiving the promise may be certain of what is to be done.

Work in small groups to draft a class pledge, then vote on pledges and adopt one. You may make modifications as necessary. Or work as a family to formulate a family pledge. Whether the  pledge is short like the Pledge of Allegiance or a little longer, it needs to outline a commitment that every person who takes the pledge can fulfill. For instance, pledging to donate $10,000 to the school library is unrealistic; but students could realistically pledge to be honest on quizzes and tests.
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My Country, 'Tis of Thee

Assign each student two or more U.S. states to research. Students should find the following information:

  • date state became a part of the Union
  • capital
  • state motto
  • state flag
  • state bird
  • state flower
  • primary industries
  • present governor
  • number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • number of seats in the U.S. Senate

Using an 11" x 17" sheet of heavy-duty white construction paper or tagboard, students should draw or trace a sketch of the state, clearly marking the capital. If desired, other major cities may be marked as well. Drawings or photos representative of the state (state government officials, historical landmarks, industries, state bird and/or flower, etc.) may be used to decorate the state page. At the top of the page, the name of the state should be printed or stenciled neatly. On the back of the paper, students may draw or trace the state flag. Below the flag, they should provide the information listed above. Students might also be encouraged to write one or two paragraphs highlighting some key historical event that took place within the state, a historical landmark within the state, or a famous person from the state. As time permits, students might also be asked to share their findings with the rest of the class. Once all states have been completed, the pages may be assembled into a book for the class or home library. As a summation of this project, each student could write five trivia questions about each of his states, the answers to which could be found on his pages. Trivia questions can be used for written or oral review.

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Top Secret

Give each student three or more 3" x 5" index cards. Students should think of as many persons, places, things, or ideas related to the American Revolution as they have cards. At the top of each of their cards they should neatly print one of their nouns. Beneath each noun, students should list five related words. Following is a sample card:

George Washington
Mount Vernon

Valley Forge

president

surveyor

cherry tree

Students may now play and Independence Day version of Taboo using the words cards they have created. (In Taboo, a player chooses a card with a word related to Christmas at the top. He or she gives verbal clues to help other players guess the word, but he or she cannot use any form of the five related words written on the lower portion of the card in his or her clues.)

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A Family Flag

Ask children to look at the American flag and name the colors it contains. Explain that each color used in a flag has a special meaning. In the American flag, for instance, the blue stands for justice, the white stands for purity, and the red stands for courage.

Not only the colors but also the symbols on the flag are significant. The original flag bore thirteen stars and thirteen stripes--one for each of the colonies. Today the American flag proudly displays fifty stars, one for each state in the union. The thirteen stripes remain unchanged, reminding America of its beginning as thirteen colonies.

Ask children to think of items that have special significance to them or their family. Direct them to create a family flag, using only the most important of these symbols. You might also share the meanings of the following colors commonly used on flags so that children can choose appropriate colors for their designs.

After flags have been created, each child should explain the significance of both the colors and the objects on his or her flag to the rest of the class or family.

blue

justice; piety; sincerity

black

grief; sorrow

green

hope

orange

strength; endurance

purple

high rank

red

courage; valor

red-purple

sacrifice

silver or white

faith; purity

yellow or gold

honor; loyalty

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