Oct 23, 2020 2020-10-23
By Patti O’Brien
Veterans Day is coming up on November 11. It’s an opportunity to thank America’s veterans for their service and for students to learn more about veterans and their service. Below are a few ways to celebrate Veterans Day in your classroom.
Learn from Stories
When learning about historical events, we often urge students to find primary sources. What better way to interview a primary source for historical facts than for a student to look in his/her own family tree? Many students may have family members that have served in the branches of the United States military. These servicemen and servicewomen experienced firsthand historical events in the United States or in countries overseas. Interviewing a relative as to geographical locations traveled and events experienced can give students a chance to learn up close and personal.
If students do not have a family member to interview, StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative has recorded many stories of veterans, service members, and military families.
You can also contact veterans’ groups in your area to speak to your class through a local Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). You can find a directory of VSOs here.
Inspire Acts of Service
One of the best ways to honor veterans is for students to give back through service projects. Students may bring in donations to send care packages to active duty military who are relatives of faculty or students. A list of organizations that accept care packages can be found here. Many organizations also help coordinate sending letters to deployed service members.
Plan a school assembly (perhaps virtually) to be held on Veterans Day and invite students’ family members who are veterans. The protocol and sequence of opening the ceremony, songs, student plays, and guest speakers are outlined in this teachers guide from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Patti O’Brien graduated from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She has lived in rural Osceola County and taught in the City of St. Cloud for more than 30 years. As an educator, Patti has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She was a 2001 National Board Certified Early Childhood Generalist and a 2005 Lockheed Martin Scholar in K–8 Mathematics/Science Master’s Program. As a kindergarten teacher at Lakeview Elementary, her school worked with the City of St. Cloud tree arborist in planting Cypress trees at the St. Cloud Lakefront Park.