Beacon Lesson Plan Library

We Thank You, Veteran!

Jeanne Barber-Morris
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students use information from videos, picture books, and relatives' military backgrounds to help write a short or extended message of gratitude on a greeting card for local veterans.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping, outlining, grouping related ideas, using graphic organizers, taking notes).

The student revises draft to further develop a piece of writing by adding, deleting, and rearranging ideas and details.

The student uses strategies to spell words (for example, using resources such as dictionary or thesaurus to confirm spelling).

The student evaluates own and other's writing (for example, identifing the best features of a piece of writing, determining how own writing achieves its purpose, asking for feedback, responding to classmate's writing).

The student uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the format (for example, using appropriate voice; using descriptive language to clarify ideas and create vivid images; using elements of style, such as appropriate tone).

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, letters to persuade or request, humorous or suspenseful stories to entertain, instructions to inform).


-Video WW II-NBC ISBN # 69491-X Time: 23 minutes--Video -WHO ARE OUR HEROES?--NBC ISBN# 82904-1Time: 15 minutes
-Overhead of the Video Plan Sheet (See attached file.)
-The book VETERANíS DAY by Lynda Sorenson ISNB#1-57103-070-0
-One piece of notebook paper for each student
-Past example(s) or teacher example of card
-One piece of white oak tag (card stock) per student
-Colored pencils
-Red and blue glitter
-Blue, Black, and Red markers
-Black ink pens
-Fifth Grade Journey Sheet with the Six Traits of Writing (See attached file.)
-Standard Editing Symbols in poster form or in classroom English texts
-Veteranís Day Checklist Rubric (See attached file.)
-Teacherís Evaluation Checklist (See attached file.)
-Copies of Video Plan Sheet for each student (See attached file.)


1. Obtain selected videos and book titles for topic.
2. Make one transparency of Video Planner (See file attachment.)
3. Prepare chart paper for as many classes as you need.
4. Collect art materials and white oak tag paper for each student.
5. Have one black pen for each student.
6. Prepare an area for glue and glitter (a table covered in white bulletin paper).
7. Prepare copies of the Fifth Grade Journey Sheets for each student. (See attached file.) Please note, students will need instruction on how to complete this rubric prior to beginning the lesson.
8. Prepare one copy of Veteranís Day Card Rubric for each student. (See attached file.)


Please note: This lesson can be adapted for student ability level. The writing assignment can be brief (a four-sentence thank you card) or more extended, such as a two-paragraph letter of gratitude.

Day One:
SAY: Today we are going to view two videos about our American military heroes and their adventures in helping save and keep freedom for us and other nations.
Watch and listen carefully, and then we will fill out a Video Plan Sheet together. (See attached file.)

1. Pass out Video Plan Sheets and all pre-writing material (notebook paper and pencil) to each student.
2. Introduce and show each short video.
3. Say: Write down KEY WORDS you hear from the video on your Video Plan Sheet. This will help you remember important ideas for your writing.
4. Go through the Video Plan Sheet from each video on overhead to help discuss the values of patriotism and any other noticeable ideas they can use to influence their writing. Have students add any needed ideas to their individual sheets as the class discusses the videos.
5. Now read and share the book VETERANíS DAY. Briefly discuss and ask questions to strengthen their memories of the material.
6. As a class, chart appropriate word choices on the topic of patriotic ideas, getting information and ideas from the two videos and book(s). E.g., country, love, glory, faith, kindness, flag, life, duty, etc.
7. Each student is then asked to use the class word choice list to create a pre-writing web to organize ideas.
8. On the back of the web, students start their first drafts of a four- sentence, or more complex, thank-you note to an unknown veteran.

Day Two:
1. Review their Day One Lesson by discussing the word chart of patriotic ideas.
2. Have 2-3 volunteer students stand and share their first drafts.
3. Next, have each student do A, B and C of the Fifth Grade Journey Sheet to peer edit their messages. (See attached file.)
4. Students generate second draft incorporating peer editing recommendations.
5. Each student then completes his or her Journey Sheet by doing A, B, and D.
6. When students do the D section, they look at their partnerís paper for errors and edit in red pen.
7. For the Six Traits of Writing, as assessed in the Fifth Grade Journey Sheet(file attachment), each student is to mark a minus or plus sign over the trait (word choice, ideas, sentence fluency, organization, and voice) showing strengths and weaknesses. The students should be pre-trained to do this step.
8. Collect individual writing sheets to be redistributed the next day.

Day Three:
1. Pass out white oak tag, pencils, and art materials.
2. Students watch as teacher demonstrates folding the white card stock in half, neatly and carefully.
3. Show students that their cards need to sit in landscape manner, not portrait, in front of them.
4. Display a few teacher-made examples or past student cards.
5. Each student then sketches with a light pencil stroke a patriotic design of his or her own.
6. Have students carefully write their four-line or more message inside the card.
7. Students sign the closing with one of the following: A friend, or Your friend,.
8. This is all written in pencil.
9. When their writing has been checked for errors by students' team members, students may print over their writing with black ink. This helps the veterans to read lettering more clearly.

Teacher collects cards.

Day Four:
1. Students finish their cards by coloring pictures with colored pencils and by using markers to outline drawn objects with clean and clearer lines, all the while keeping a red, white, and blue theme.
2. Students need to print their first and last names on the back of the card, along with their teacherís name and school name (similar to a commercial card).
3. Have each student find one object or figure on the card they want to highlight with either red or blue glitter.
4. Spread the glue in the chosen area and then glitter!
5. Set cards out to dry.

Day Five:
1.Review all steps.
2. Have students fill out their part of the check-off list rubric. (See attached file: VETERAN'S DAY CHECKLIST EVALUATION SHEET).
3. Teacher fills out her area of this rubric checklist. (See attached file- right side of VETERAN'S DAY CHECKLIST EVALUATION SHEET).
4. Teacher then has small group or individual conferences to go over teacher evaluation checklist. (File attachment- as in step #3).
5. Send card to the area veteranís homes or hospitals. Our city has a Veteranís Day Card Contest that the local civic group sponsors.


Students fill out the self-evaluation that includes specific criteria needed to complete the card. This self-evaluation produces a numeric A, B, or C score. (See attached file: Veteranís Day Card Evaluation Checklist. The left side is for the students' self-evaluation.)

Teacher's final assessment uses the right side of the same assessment rubric sheet. Students are able to compare their self-evaluations and the teacher's evaluation on the same rubric.


Extension Lesson:
1. After completing and mailing cards, student pairs complete a K-W-L Chart. Instruct students to fold notebook paper into three sections and label sections as follows: What do we know? What do we want to know? What have we learned? Charts are completed as a means of researching more information on our veterans and their history.
2. Have each pair of students research answers to the following questions: Where is Flanders Field? What happened at Flanders Field? What is the story behind presenting a poppy to individuals who donate to veteran's causes?
3. Suggested reference sources:
-World Book Encyclopedia
-CD ROM encyclopedias

Web Links

Web supplement for We Thank You, Veteran!
Veteran's Day Home Page

Web supplement for We Thank You, Veteran!
Veteran's Day at Arlington poster

Web supplement for We Thank You, Veteran!
Arlington poster

Web supplement for We Thank You, Veteran!
Arlington poster

Web supplement for We Thank You, Veteran!
Arlington poster

Web supplement for We Thank You, Veteran!
Arlington poster

Web supplement for We Thank You, Veteran!
Arlington poster

Classroom Projects and Activities
Veterans Day

Patriotic Poetry
Go Red White & Blue

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