Monday, November 10, 2014

Celebrating Veteran's Day in Kindergarten


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Veteran's Day in my kindergarten classroom is a time of year that I hold very close to my heart because as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a Veteran myself. I served in the Army Reserves for 9 years and did a tour in Iraq. I love that I can share my past with my kinders to help them to understand what a Veteran is and to realize that many of them have Veteran's in their very own family!

Throughout the week the kiddos learn about what it means to be patriotic and what our flag looks like and why it looks the way it does. They also learn what a Veteran is an the different branches in which they have served or are currently serving.

To start off our Veteran's Day unit we sing and sign Debbie Clement's  Red, White and Blue book/song. If you don't have this book, you MUST purchase it! It is one of my favorites of all time!

After we sing and sign "Red, White and Blue", I then show my class a slide show of many of my old military photos and photos of many of my colleagues children or spouses who are also veterans. The kiddos really enjoy seeing their teacher in uniform and think it is the "coolest thing ever" that their teacher was in the Army. This get's them super psyched for the whole unit!
Last year, I found so awesome Veteran's day activities on TpT, but one that really stuck out to me was one made by Mary over at Sharing Kindergarten. Included in her Veteran's Day pack was this interactive reader. We completed the reader together and then went back and highlighted sight words that we have been working on. 


I also brought in several of my old uniforms for the kiddos to try on during their choice time. They really enjoyed putting on the uniforms and prancing around the classroom. They then wanted their pictures taken. Some of the kiddos were so comfortable in the uniforms that I think they forgot they even had them on because as you can see in the picture below, they continued about their business without even taking it off!

They worked together to get the uniforms on just right and some even had fun trying on the PT uniform with the combat boots! haha!

After learning about what Veterans are, I send a letter home asking parents to send in picture of anyone in their family, who their child knows, that is a veteran. Once pictures are sent in, the child gets to share their picture(s) with the class and then it goes up on the "veteran's we know" bulletin board in our classroom. 

On our Art day, we took our prior knowledge of the American flag and added a few more details by reading parts of the book The Flag We Love by Pam Munoz Ryan. This book is a little over their heads, so I only read the parts that felt we at their level and would help them to better understand why our flag is the way it is.

After learning a little more about our flag, the kiddos painted American flags to hang up in the hallway and to hang up around our Veteran's showcase that is up year round in our school (shown behind our teachers who are wearing their "I Support Our Troops" shirts). 

And here are the flags they painted. I think they did amazing!

Today, we finished our Veteran's Day mini unit/celebration. To end our unit, I surprised my kiddos by going and changing into my old uniform and wearing my old kevlar. When I stepped foot into the classroom, they were so exited and wanted to come over and touch my uniform (the same ones that they have been wearing for a week now) and to get their picture taken with me. They were in awe that their teacher was there in front of them in her Army uniform! It made it all become more real to them. 

Last but not least, I made sure that my kiddo's knew why there is no school tomorrow, by asking each of them before they left, "Why do we have tomorrow off of school?". All but 2 could tell me why! (the other two thought that it was "Turkey Day", which we haven't even talked all that much about yet! haha).

Be sure to thank a Veteran tomorrow! If you are a Veteran...THANK YOU for your service to this great nation! I am forever grateful for you!

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