Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Symbols of Freedom

Franchesta Birgs


The purpose of this lesson is for students to display a knowledge of historical facts regarding the American Flag as they use creative writing skills.


The student knows the history of American symbols (e.g., the eagle, the Liberty Bell, George Washington as the `father of our country,` and the American flag).


-Video: American History For Children: United States Flag,Schlessinger Video Productions, Bala Cynwyd,PA, 1996, 25 minutes.
-Star Spangled Paddles
-Black Marker


1. Decorate enough (one per student) tongue depressors with red, white, and blue stickers( star shaped) to give them a patriotic appeal. (Star Spangled Paddle)
2. Gather materials and set up film presentation method.


1.Talk to the students briefly about traditional American holidays (Independence Day, Memorial Day, etc.) Ask how many of their families have American flags. Instruct students to raise their "Star Spangled Paddles" when they wish to respond. These paddles reinforce the concept of the stars and stripes of the flag.(See Preparations)

2.Show and discuss a video such as : American History For Children: United States Flag. This video is 25 minutes long and might need to be viewed over a period of two days, if so, discuss what has been seen after each viewing. Review the facts about the flag, especially when it was created, by whom and why. It isn't important that students remember the exact date, just that it was made when our country first began.

3.Tell the students that they are going to write a poem or short story about the American flag. It must include who made the first flag and why and when.

5.Explain that a poem can be long or short, rhyming or not. Tell student the class is going to write a poem together explaining the when, the why and the who about the weather.

6.Practice writing a short poem about the weather. Encourage the students to have input. Record their poem on the wall. Ask for questions or comments. Point out who (maybe the weatherman), point out the when (maybe tomorrow), point out the why (maybe it's hot because it's summer.) Students will need practice identifying these since they will be assessed on the who, when and why of the flag history.

7.Remind the students that the designer of the first American flag, when and why it was made must be included in their writing in order for it to be complete. Review these facts with students as needed.

8.Allow students to make draft copies, and monitor this process by walking around the class and giving input where needed.

9.After appropriate feedback, allow students to redo drafts and turn in the completed assignment.


Students demonstrate a knowledge of the history about the American Flag by writing a poem or short story describing who designed the first flag, when and why. Students who have difficulty should receive additional instructions and feedback before being assessed again. Be sure to assess the knowledge of the flag facts, rather than the creative writing ability.
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