Lesson 4

I Am A Patriot

 

Lesson Overview:

This lesson instills pride in the children for their country. In Part 1, the children will review rights and some American history, make a simple drum and sing the "Yankee Doodle Song." In Part 2, they'll color a picture of the Statue of Liberty, find out information about their ancestry and learn to greet others in different languages. In Part 3, they'll color a page about the Pledge of Allegiance, make a flag and discover state facts.

 

Learning Objectives:

The children will:

  • Recognize that immigrants, past and present, sought freedom and a better life.
  • Review the stories of the Pilgrims and the American Revolution.
  • Associate patriotic songs and activities with unity.
  • Learn the meaning and history of various U.S. holidays and symbols.

 

Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards

 

Part 1: Our Founding Fathers

Review:

In Lesson 1, the children learned the value of human rights. Review My Bill of Rights and listen to The Rights Song. Direct them to the U.S. Bill of Rights​ and remind them the United States has its own Bill of Rights, which guarantees what citizens are able to do or to be.

 

Discuss:

The children may already be familiar with the story of the Pilgrims. You may want to touch on a few of the main points, such as:

  • The Pilgrims were originally from England.
  • Most were poor farmers.
  • They first arrived in America in the fall of 1620 and established an independent colony.
  • Why did the Pilgrims decide to take a long, dangerous trip over the ocean to live in a new land? (They didn't have the right to make important decisions in England.)

Half the Pilgrims died during their first winter here in America, but in the spring of 1621, the surviving Pilgrims planted crops.

One of the settlers, William Hilton, wrote his cousin that year to send over William's wife and children because America was a wonderful place to live! There were lots of fruits and nuts, as well as big flocks of turkeys. There were many lakes with plenty of fish, and William said there was no better grain than Indian corn.

The Pilgrims had a great feast in the fall to celebrate a good harvest. That was the first celebration of what we now call Thanksgiving. This annual holiday falls on the fourth Thursday of November.

  • Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving? (It reminds us of the Pilgrims' hardships and all the good foods and other things we enjoy in the United States.)

 

Discuss:

Over time England made so many unfair laws that the colonists began making plans to declare their independence.

  • Why did the colonists want to be free? (England was making too many unfair laws.)

In 1775, war broke out between the colonists and Great Britain. (The kingdoms of England and Scotland were combined to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.) On July 4, 1776, American declared it was free from Great Britain's rule by adopting the Declaration of Independence. We celebrate this special day - known as Independence Day or the Fourth of July - every year with parades and fireworks.

Three other countries, France, Spain and the Netherlands, sided with the colonists. The war was fought on land and sea. Great Britain voted to end it in 1782. 

  • Why do we celebrate the Fourth of July? (The Declaration of Independence was adopted on that day, stating our country was free from Great Britain's rule. We consider it our country's birthday.)

 

Activity: Make a Drum

Music kept the soldiers' spirits up during the long, hard war. Make simple drums from empty coffee cans, ice cream buckets or large plastic food containers with lids. Use unsharpened pencils or dowels to beat the drums. By placing the drum between their knees while seated, they can make a more hollow sound. The drum "corps" can play while singing Yankee Doodle Song.

 

MP3: Yankee Doodle Song

Make copies of the lyrics if desired. The children will enjoy singing, moving, and/or marching to the music. After listening, discuss the song using the following questions:

  • Why do you think "Yankee Doodle" inspired the Revolutionary War Army more than any other song? (Answers may include: The song had a catchy beat, and the colonists felt the British were making fun of them and that united them.) 
  • "Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni" What terms do we use now that mean the same as macaroni? (Answers may include: cool, in fashion, etc.)
  • "We're all Yankee Doodles!" How are we all Yankee Doodles? (We're proud of our country and being Americans, united in freedom.)

 

Part 2: Our Immigrant Past

Discuss:

The Pilgrims weren't the only group of people who came to America looking for a better life. Throughout our history, millions have traveled here from other countries. These immigrants sought safety from unjust leaders and other problems in their homelands.
 
In America, we have many symbols which remind us of our freedom. One has stood on an island in New York City's harbor since 1886. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to honor our countries' friendship.
 
The statue is a woman dressed in a flowing robe with a crown on her head. In one hand, she holds a book on which is written the date of July 4, 1776, America's birthday. With the other she raises high a bright torch, welcoming people to America. The statue can be seen from a great distance. Immigrants arriving by boat may not have been able to speak or read English, but they knew when they saw the Statue of Liberty they were arriving in a land of freedom.
 
 
Invite the children to color the picture of the Statue of Liberty greeting immigrants. How many points on her crown? The seven points represent the number of continents and seas.
 
 
Activity: At-Home Discoveries
Ask the children to do some detective work about their ancestry:
  • When and where did their ancestors arrive in the United States - did they see the Statue of Liberty?
  • Which countries did they leave?
  • Why did they decide to come to America?

Allow time for them to share with the group what they've discovered.

Reproducible: Hello! In Many Languages  

Many immigrants arrive in the United States each year. Our country is a wonderful mixture of different people. Many immigrants know how to speak English by the time they come to our country, but some do not. Saying "Hello!" is a friendly way to greet these newcomers, but what if the person doesn't understand the language? Although greetings are used worldwide, the words sound different in each country and region. Make and distribute copies of Hello! In Many Languages. Practice saying the words together. One new word can be introduced each day over several weeks' time, reviewing the previous vocabulary regularly.

Tell the children the words may sound a little strange to their ears, but they're friendly and familiar to people who speak that language.

 

Additional Ideas:

Level 1 Resources lists books about traditions, dances, clothing, foods and celebrations you may enjoy reading aloud to the children.

Part 3: Our Flag and Other U.S. Symbols

Reproducible: The Pledge of Allegiance Coloring Page

Almost all people born in the United States are automatically citizens. Immigrants are not citizens right away; they must meet certain requirements, including passing an English language test and another on general U.S. facts.

During the ceremony, new citizens promise to be loyal to the United States and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.

The U.S. flag is a symbol of our country like the Statue of Liberty. The flag has changed many times. As the number of states grew, additional stars were added. Now there are 50 to represent all 50 states. The flag is so important to Americans that there is a special holiday on June 14 each year to honor it, called Flag Day.

Make copies of the Pledge of Allegiance coloring page. Review how to say the Pledge:

  • Stand at attention.
  • Face the flag.
  • Right hand over heart.

These actions show respect for the flag. Placing the right hand over the heart shows we are making a serious promise.

Although the children are familiar with the Pledge, they may not know what the words mean. Bring out the following points in your discussion:

  • I pledge allegiance means "I promise I will be loyal."
  • The republic means our country, the United States of America.
  • Indivisible means that our states are united and cannot be separated.
 

Activity: Make a flag

The American flag is rich in symbolism. The children can make their own flag, using colors and symbols of personal meaning to them, or they may make a traditional U.S. flag.

  • Use construction paper or other sturdy material for the flag.
  • Draw figures with markers or crayons or decorate the flag with pictures from magazines and light objects like buttons.
  • Attach crepe paper streamers or ribbons if desired.
  • Fasten the finished flag to a short dowel or ruler to wave.

 

MP3: The Star Spangled Banner

Our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, is played countless times each year at national, state and community occasions. Surprisingly, many Americans do not know the lyrics.
 
The words to the song are a poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812. He witnessed the British attacking Fort McHenry from the deck of a British ship. The first verse is usually the only one sung and ends with a question: Was the flag - the Great Garrison flag which measured 30 feet wide and 40 feet long - still waving above the fort?
 
The second verse, not often heard but included in the MP3, provides the answer. As dawn came and the fog slowly lifted, the huge flag became visible. The Americans had fought off the British attack!
 
Before playing the song, you may want to explain the meaning of several of the words:
  • Perilous means dangerous.
  • Ramparts are defensive walls or barricades.
  • Spangled means decorated in a sparkly way.
  • Banner is another word for a flag.
  • Foe is another word for enemy.
  • Host is an army.
  • Reposes means sleeps.
  • Steep means a place with a steep slope.
Make copies of the lyrics if desired. The children will enjoy singing, moving and/or marching to the music. After listening, discuss the song using the following questions:
  • Why was it important to Francis Scott Key to see the American flag flying above the fort? (It meant the Americans had won the battle. If the British had won, the British flag, or Union Jack, would have been flown.)
  • How did the "rockets' red glare" and the "bombs bursting in air" give proof that the flag was still flying? (They lit up the sky in the night so the flag could be seen.)

The bald eagle was adopted as our national bird in 1782. At one time, the word bald meant "white" rather than "without hair."

The children may be interested to know not everyone agreed with the decision. Benjamin Franklin wrote his daughter that he would have selected the wild turkey as national bird. Franklin said bald eagles were "lazy" and stole food from other birds. The turkey, on the other hand, was a "bird of courage" that would certainly attack a British soldier if one walked into the farmyard!

 

Reproducible: State Trivia Chart

Each state also has its own flag, bird and nickname. In many cases, the state's residents voted on the selection. Some states have a state dance, a state beverage, even a state dinosaur! Many websites offer information about state symbols - some students may enjoy discovering a unique fact about each state, writing it in the blank column and sharing it with the group.