Let Freedom Ring!

byCarol P. Boynton


Hands over their hearts, heads raised up, eyes toward the American flag, each morning the young students across the country recite the Pledge of Allegiance. They stand tall and proud, sensing the importance of these grand words as they end in unison, "…with liberty and justice for all." This ritual is part of the fabric of the day for American school children, but do the students know what they are pledging and why they look at the flag? They know to hold their heads up in pride, but what are they proud of as they announce this pledge out loud? What is all this ritual all about and where did it all come from? Who decides what we say and do? Through a project-based approach, this unit will guide students as they answer the essential question, "What are the stories that America's symbols tell?"


Citizenship, civic life, and civic values are important components of our social studies curriculum at the elementary level. Within these standards, students are instructed broadly about the symbols of citizenship and the rights, responsibilities, and roles of that citizenship. To expand the level of introduction, this curriculum unit approaches a more specific understanding of the idea of America through its unique symbols. We, as citizens, are exposed to a number of American symbols daily in our buildings, neighborhoods, and cities. As the students learn about themselves as American citizens, who they are and where they live, they will discover that the symbols that we see represent us, our country, and its history. For very young students, this learning comes through concrete, sensorial experiences, providing meaningful and relative understanding.

As a first-grade teacher in a self-contained classroom at Edgewood Magnet School in New Haven, I have a class of 25 six- and seven-year-olds. Our neighborhood/magnet school setting is a rewarding environment, with students coming to school each day from a range of home circumstances and differences in academic levels. These differences provide for a variety of life experiences and background knowledge. The school has an enrollment of about 450 students, with approximately 60% African-American, 12% Hispanic, and the remaining 28% Caucasian and Asian; we are proud of its high average daily attendance rate of 96%. Edgewood's mission supports an arts-integrated curriculum, an educational approach that embraces Dr. Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory. 1 Because children learn though many different modalities, art forms – including music, visual art, theater, and dance – are used to enrich other core subjects, including language arts, math, social studies, and science. The diversity of the school and this approach to learning allows for collaboration that includes questioning, exploration, and discovery.

Awareness of our surroundings is an overarching mission of this unit. Students are immersed in an environment of objects that have certain meanings that are quite interesting and important. Although the specific goal throughout this unit is to illuminate the meaning embodied in America's symbols, an additional advantage and outcome is the realization that many objects around us have a story – a strategy to think beyond the visual and literal and begin to question and connect.

Each American symbol has a story to tell. In this curriculum unit, students experience American objects throughout the year by connecting them, in a timely way, to their own lives. The sequence will mirror the activities at school and around the community and country: understanding the flag and pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the school year, being aware of celebratory parades in October for Columbus Day and November for Veterans Day, decoding coins and currency in February for Presidents' Day, and additionally, finding out about the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, the White House, monuments, memorials, Uncle Sam, even postage stamps. Through this year long learning experience, questioning and inquiry are their guiding stars and stripes!

Freedom and Equality

The meaning of freedom is as multifaceted, contentious, and ever-changing as America itself. As Foner reminds us, American freedom was born in revolution. 2 Out of this revolution came the Declaration of Independence, the vision statement of our country. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." For young student to begin to understand these grand principles of our country, it is essential to give them time to explore them in a concrete manner. Sharing documents and paintings that show the founding fathers, their work, and the era they lived in gives students an opportunity to begin authentic questions. Who are they? What are they doing? Who wrote all these words and what are they? The discussion of freedom and equality will begin and the history of our symbols will offer a basis for the understanding to grow.

America's Symbols

The American Flag

For more than 200 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our nation's strength and unity. It has been a source of pride and inspiration for millions of citizens as a prominent icon in our national history. That we have this unique and special feeling for our flag is not to diminish the respect and pride people in other nations feel for their national emblems; however, no country in the world matches the intensity of the American citizens' attachment to the fifty-star, thirteen-stripe Stars and Stripes. Our flag is seen everywhere Americans live, everywhere they go, from our porches, to our schools, from our government buildings to businesses of all types. We patriotically turn to our flag in good times and in bad, to show pride during sporting events and strength during times of national tragedy. Americans are alone among the nations of the world to have our school children pledge their allegiance to the flag. Our National Anthem is a "hymn of praise" to our flag. Even the proper use of the flag comes directly for a one-of-a-kind document, the official U.S. Flag Code, which lists the set of rules developed in the 1920's. This code has been a federal statute since 1942. 3

It seems that many Americans think that the Stars and Stripes were ordered by General Washington, that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag, and the Revolutionary forces used the flag from the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. The early history of the American flag is somewhat murky. No one knows with absolute certaintywho designed the first stars and stripes or who made it. Congressman Francis Hopkinson seems most likely to have designed it, but few historians believe that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, made the first one. Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. 4 Because of this, flags dating before this time sometimes show different arrangements of the stars in odd proportions, depending on the discretion of the individual flag maker. Generally, though, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used.

The principal legislative acts affecting the flag of the United States began on June 14, 1777. In order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: "Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation." Over the next 200 years, the flag became the subject of two acts and three executive orders to official state its design, lastly with the Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959, which provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically. 5

Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes continue to represent the original 13 colonies and the stars represent our fifty states of the union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.

The Pledge of Allegiance

Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian socialist, wrote the foundational words for our Pledge of Allegiance in August 1892. In his pledge, he expressed his ideas and the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward(1888) and Equality(1897). Bellamy's pledge was published in the September 8th issue of "The Youth's Companion", the leading family magazine and the Reader's Digestof its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Bellamy in 1891 as his assistant after he had enjoyed listening to Bellamy's socialist sermons. At that time, Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association and as its chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools' quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute – his 'Pledge of Allegiance.' Bellamy's hope was that this pledge would be used by citizens in any country. 6 His original pledge read as follows:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

In 1923, the National Flag Conference added the words, "the Flag of the United States of America," making it truly an American pledge, and now reading:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

In response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower, in 1954, encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the thirty-word pledge we say today.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


Through the years, how people have celebrated culture, community, and identity has changed very little. Tribes were identified through their colors, which evolved into flags, and parades were held ever since people first gathered. The earliest written record a parade takes place in 3000 B.C.E. Historically public parades were not for celebration, but to show power over the conquered. 7 Parades have also played a strategic role in the management of a nation and the unity of diverse people. Over the years, the parade evolved from being not only useful for a nation, but also for the common people. Parades became a medium for government overthrow or protest.

Today, parades have a much broader goal. Whether a political discussion or for giant floats, there are parades of all kinds, sharing cultures, imagination, and talents from around the world. From marching bands to circus acts, parades are not just a way to be patriotic or a form of entertainment, but underneath all of it, is a connection with who we are, where we come from, and how we can honor our traditions. Like no other activity, a parade can make us connected to a common idea.

Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as "The Great War" – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars." 8

United States Currency

Presidents on Our Coins

The one-cent coin, commonly known as the penny, was the first currency of any type authorized by the United States, with its design a suggestion from Benjamin Franklin. The original one-cent coin was over five times heavier and almost fifty-percent larger than its current counterpart. The word "penny" came to the United States from the British coin pence. Over 300 billion one-cent coins, with 11 different designs, have been minted since 1787. 9

The first one-cent coin was made in 1787 by a private mint and was 100% copper. This composition would continue until the 1856, when the Flying Eagle cent was produced and composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel. The Indian cent was first introduced in 1859 and showed an Indian princess on the obverse (head of the coin). A popular story about its design claims a visiting Indian chief lent the designer's daughter his headdress so she could pose as the Indian princess. Most Indian cents minted during the Civil War went primarily to pay Union soldiers. 1 0

After the Civil War, in 1864, the composition of the one-cent coin was changed to 95% copper and 5% zinc and was made legal tender by the Coinage Act of 1864. In 1909, Abraham Lincoln was the first historical figure to grace a U.S. coin when he was portrayed on the one-cent coin. The Lincoln penny was also the first U.S. cent to include the words "In God We Trust." During part of World War II, zinc-coated steel cents were struck due to a copper shortage. The Lincoln Memorial was added to the reverse of the one-cent coin by Mint engraver Frank Gasparro in 1959 to mark Lincoln's 150th birthday, making it the first and only coin to have the same person on both sides. If you inspect it carefully, you will see the statue of Lincoln inside the Memorial.

The presidents that appear on the obverse side of our circulating coins were all selected by Congress in recognition of their service to our country. However, they were chosen under slightly different circumstances. Designed by Victor Brenner, the Lincoln cent was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Felix Schlag's portrait of Thomas Jefferson, which began to appear on the obverse side of the nickel in 1938, was chosen in a design competition among some 390 artists. The death of Franklin Roosevelt prompted many requests to the Treasury Department to honor the late president by placing his portrait on a coin. Less than one year after his death, the dime bearing John R. Sinnock's portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt was released to the public on FDR's birthday, January 30, 1946. The portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, which appears on quarters minted from 1932 to today, was selected to commemorate the 200th anniversary of our first president's birth. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy generated such an outpouring of public sentiment that President Lyndon Johnson sent legislation to Congress to authorize the Treasury Department new 50-cent pieces. Bearing the portrait designed by Gilroy Roberts, the first Kennedy half-dollars were minted on February 11, 1964. 1 1

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States. Originally named "Liberty Enlightening the World," the statue was proposed by the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi designed the 151-foot statue as the form of a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. Its framework of gigantic steel supports was designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 1 2

In February 1877, Congress approved the use of a site on New York Bedloe's Island, which was suggested by Bartholdi. In May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. In June 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in the United States, having travelled in 200 packing cases. Its copper sheets were reassembled, and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, during a dedication presided over by President Cleveland and attended by numerous French and American dignitaries.

On the pedestal was inscribed "The New Colossus," a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus that welcomed immigrants to the United States with the declaration:

"Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. / I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

In 1892, Ellis Island, adjacent to Bedloe's Island, opened as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, and for the next 62 years more than 12 million immigrants were welcomed into New York harbor by the sight of "Lady Liberty." In 1924, the Statue of Liberty was made a national monument, and in 1956 Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island. 1 3

The statue is a national monument and a symbol of many things. The lady herself represents freedom and independence. The tablet in her left hand represents the Declaration of Independence. She holds the torch of freedom high in her right hand. A broken chain near her feet represents the victory of liberty over tyranny. The spikes on her crown reach to the seven seas and the seven continents and stand for seven liberties – civil, moral, national, natural, personal, political, and religious.

Bald Eagle

The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic appearance. We see an eagle with outspread wings on the backs of our gold coins, the silver dollar, the half dollar and the quarter.

At the Second Continental Congress, after the thirteen colonies voted to declare independence from Great Britain, the colonies determined they needed an official seal. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, as a committee, began the design for a seal of the United States of America. However, the only portion of that design accepted by the Congress was the statement"E pluribus unum",which means "out of many, one."

Six years later, in May of 1782, a Philadelphia naturalist provided a drawing showing an eagle displayed as the symbol of "supreme power and authority." Congress approved the drawing, so by the end of 1782, an eagle holding a bundle of arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other was accepted as the seal. The image was completed with a shield of red and white stripes covering the breast of the bird; a crest above the eagle's head, with a cluster of thirteen stars surrounded by bright rays going out to a ring of clouds; and a banner, held by the eagle in its bill, bearing the wordsE pluribus unum.Yet, it was not until 1787 that the American bald eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States. Although, the official seal has undergone some modifications in the last two hundred years, the basic design is the same. 1 4 The eagle represents freedom. Living as he does on the tops of mountains, able to soar about the landscape, he has unlimited freedom, a foundation of the American spirit.

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam is a great American icon, in his colorful, patriotic clothes with his finger pointed forward, urging each of us to get involved in aiding our country through difficult times. Many myths and stories exist that may be just very good guesses or possibly at least one of them is correct. Maybe the most captivating story of Uncle Sam's beginning is that of Mr. Samuel Wilson, a prominent meat-packer in Troy, New York during the first decades of the nineteenth century, a time when America was still in its infancy as a nation. During the War of 1812, Mr. Wilson helped the troops fighting the British by sending them crates of meat, which he stamped U.S., presumably stood forUnited States. The soldiers themselves, familiar with Sam Wilson, claimed the U.S. to stood for "Uncle Sam." The exact origin of this story is not clear, but from this point on, Uncle Sam (a man who, apparently, bore a striking resemblance to the familiar image of the old, pointing gentleman) became a symbol of everyday Americans. According to an official act of congress in 1961, it is the Samuel Wilson story which is the "official" explanation of the Uncle Sam legend. 1 5

The White House

For more than 200 years, the White House has been more than just the home of the Presidents and their families. Throughout the world, it is recognized as the symbol of our President and of the United States in general. Its history, and the history of the nation's capital, began when President George Washington signed an Act of Congress in December of 1790 declaring that the federal government would reside in a district "not exceeding ten miles square…on the river Potomac." President Washington, together with city planner Pierre L'Enfant, chose the site for the new residence, which is now 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Construction began in October of 1792 when the first cornerstone was laid. Although President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, he never lived in it. It was not until 1800, when the White House was nearly completed, that its first residents, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in. The White House has an interesting history. It survived a fire at the hands of the British in 1814 (during the war of 1812) and another fire in the West Wing in 1929, during Herbert Hoover's presidency. For much of Harry S. Truman's presidency, the interior of the house, with the exception of the third floor, was completely gutted and renovated while the Trumans lived at Blair House, right across Pennsylvania Avenue. Nonetheless, the exterior stone walls are the originals, first put in place when the White House was constructed two centuries ago. 1 6

Monuments and Memorials

Monuments,memorialsandpublic spacesare places of collective memory in most societies. Nationshonortheir war dead and their social and political leaders in as well as commemorate important events in their history. Often, these structures serve to provide a place for the living to grieve or simply to learn and remember. It seems that doing so in a public forum allows people to feel connected to history even if they didn't experience it firsthand. Monuments are generally built to keep alive the memory of a person or event and memorials are intended to maintain some aspect of history and public memory.

Americans have numerous local, state, and national monuments and memorials to remind us of our history. Many familiar monuments serve as symbols of our country and are common vacation and touring stops.


Project-based learning is an educational approach centered on observation, connection, and inquiry. This is the foundation for student learning in this unit. Because students gain knowledge by finding answers through investigation, questioning, and discovery, the learning will be meaningful and enriching. As project-based learning permeates the curriculum, learning is represented across the disciplines in the classroom. Students draw, read, write, build, and construct to integrate concepts as they investigate America's many symbols.

The core idea of project-based learning is that real-world concerns capture students' interest and provoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context. The teacher plays the role of facilitator, working with students to frame worthwhile questions, structuring meaningful tasks, coaching both knowledge development and social skills, and carefully assessing what students have learned from the experience. Project-based learning helps prepare students for the thinking and collaboration skills.

Organized around an open-ended questioning, project-based learning helps focus the students' work and deepen their learning by centering on significant issues or problems. Projects begin by presenting students with knowledge and concepts and then, once learned, give them the opportunity to apply them. It requires inquiry to learn and/or create something new - an idea, an interpretation, or a new way of displaying what they have learned.

Most importantly, it requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication.Students need to do much more than remember information—they need to use higher-order thinking skills. They also have to learn to work as a team and contribute to a group effort. They must listen to others and make their own ideas clear when speaking, be able to read a variety of material, write or otherwise express themselves in various modes, and make effective presentations. The format of this approach allows for student voice and choice.Students learn to work independently and take responsibility when they are asked to make choices. The opportunity to make choices, and to express their learning in their own voice, also helps to increase students' educational engagement.

Throughout the school year, America's symbols will be introduced in this general format, with projects following inquiry and connection. The sequence of instruction will logically follow the holidays and events of the country, state, or school: September – American flag and Pledge of Allegiance; October – Statue of Liberty; November – Veterans Day (parades); December – Bald Eagle; January – Coins and Currency; February – White House; March – Postage Stamps; April – Uncle Sam; May – Memorials; June – Flag Day and School Pride Parade.

Classroom Activities

Launching the Unit – Our Flag

Focus Question: What is a symbol? Why are symbols important?

Begin the unit by reading the book, I Read Symbols by Tina Hoban

Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book. Ask the students to locate the title and the name of the author of the book. Note that the book contains real-life photographs so there is no illustrator. Show some of the pictures and have the students use the pictures to make predictions about the story content. Help the children distinguish that the book contains realistic text and not fantasy. Invite students to "read" the wordless text with you. Ask them to describe the symbols in both general and specific language. Encourage students to connect to life experiences the information in the text. If desired, you do not have to "read" every page of book. Instead, you may select the most pertinent pages that you think the students will recognize. If you are unsure about any of the symbols, there is a chart in the back of the book that tells "What the Symbols Say."

Point out some examples of familiar advertising symbols such as the golden arches of McDonald's and the NIKE symbol. Mention some of the universal symbols such as a heart for love and the pointer and middle finger for peace. Discuss the meaning of the word symbol - something that stands for or represents something else, an object that represents an idea. Help the students to understand that symbols (and printed words) provide information. Discuss with students why symbols are important.

Transition to a discussion using the following questions: What are the colors of the American flag? What do the stars on the American flag stand for? What do the stripes on the American flag stand for? Tell the students they will be learning some of this information as you read about the history of the American flag in Red, White, and Blue – The Story of the American Flag by John Herman.

Ask the students to report any personal experiences that relate to flags.

Take a visual walking field trip around the school building and grounds to look at flags and any other symbols of America. Begin at the front of the school to see the national flag. You might share with students some of the nicknames for the American flag, "The Stars and Stripes," "The Red, White and Blue," "Freedom's Banner," and "Old Glory."

Flag Projects

American Flag - There are a variety of ways for students to use art materials to make a replica of an American flag. Offering choices of construction paper, writing and drawing tools, paints, scissors, and glue allows students to reconstruct the flag. This decision frees the teacher to use more creative art materials in lieu of pre-printed worksheets.

Personal Flag – Students will use a similar process to design and construct a flag that shows personal pride. They will brainstorm ideas that show interesting facts about themselves and show, through their design, those facts, for example, family, hobbies, neighborhood, and school. This exercise will demonstrate that they need to be symbolic to be able to represent everything in a limited area, the flag.

Lesson Two - The Pledge of Allegiance

Focus Question – Why are promises important? What does it mean to be free and fair?

Explain to the students that to "pledge to allegiance" means to "promise to be loyal or true to our country." Read the book, The Pledge of Allegiance, a Scholastic Commemorative Edition. Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book. Ask the students to locate the title of the book. Note that the book contains real-life photographs so there is no illustrator. After reading the text, discuss the meaning of the words found in the pledge. Briefly explain the words included in the Pledge:

Pledge means to promise and allegiance means a promise to be loyal to our country. United refers to the fifty states that are united or joined together, like a big family, who will get along, or cooperate. Republic is difficult to explain to children. It means a kind of government where the people vote for the President as the leader of the country. The part for which it stands means that it stands for the Republic. When you see the flag, you know that it takes the place of our country. One nation under God refers to nation as another word for country, and under God means that God is over us all. Indivisible means that something can not be divided. All of our states are joined together, and one state can't pull out from the rest. In liberty and justice for all, liberty means freedom – that we are free, but that we have responsibilities. Justice means fairness. Everyone has a right to be judged fairly. That is why we have courts and judges to hear both sides of a story. All means everybody should have liberty and justice.

Classroom Pledge

Create a classroom pledge. Invite students to brainstorm ideas for a pledge to include the types of behaviors we could expect from members of the class. When there are plenty of ideas, have students vote on which one they like best.

Lesson Three – Statue of Liberty

Focus Question – How can we explain freedom to others?

Begin the lesson by assessing what the students may already know about the Statue of Liberty. Have them discuss any experiences or information. Introduce the book The Story of the Statue of Liberty by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. This accurate retelling of the history of the statue will provide a strong foundation for the students understanding. After completing the story, explain the options for continuing. The students may choose to create the costume of Lady Liberty or build one of their own.

Have the kids dress like the Statue of Liberty. They can begin with their own Statue of Liberty crown and torch. Use paper plates to make the crown, custom fitting the crown to the head of each child. Each student will need to cut out a half-circle section of one plate so it fits over his or her head like aheadband. They can then add triangular pieces cut out from another paper plate to make the points of the Statue of Liberty's crown, glue everything together, and paint it all green. Now have the students make the torch handle out of an empty paper towel tubes, card stock, and green paint, adding some yellow and red tissue paper when it is all dry. Wrap the students in sheets and have them stand one at a time on a pedestal holding the torch and wearing the crown.

Some students may choose to make the Statue of Liberty instead of dressing as Lady Liberty. Plastic soda or water bottles make a great basis for a miniature Statue of Liberty. After the bottle has completely dried, put some beans or sand in the bottom for stability. Offer popsicle stick, pipe cleaners, foil, various paper choices, paint, glue and markers for the students to use for construction. Remind them to include all the components of the statue – the arm with the torch, the tablet, the crown, and any smaller details they would like to include.

Photograph each student dressed as the Statue of Liberty or video each student as he/she tells some of the facts learned about the statue.


Brown, Margaret Wise. The Important Book. New York: Harper Collins, 1949. This 50 th anniversary edition of a classic book is used in this unit as a model for writing "The Important Book About Patriotic Symbols." The text of the book does not relate to the unit content, but the easy repeating pattern lends itself as an assessment tool to show what students have learned about patriotic symbols.

Berman, Allen G.. Warman's U.S. coins & currency field guide: values and identification. 2nd ed. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2008.

Borden, Louise, and Stacey Schuett. America is— . New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2005.

Celebrate America: A Guide to America's Greatest Symbols. Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books, 2010.

Gardner, Howard. Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice. Basic Books, 2006

Herman, John. Red, White, and Blue. Illustrated by Robin Roraback. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. 1998. This is a Level 2 Book from the All Aboard Reading series and is designed for First-Grade to Third-Grade students. There is lots of repetition in the text, and there are many pictures. This story of the American Flag describes how the American flag came into being, how it has changed over the years, and its importance as the symbol of our country.

Hoban, Tina. I Read Symbols. New York: Greenwillow Books (William Morrow).1983. Symbols are everywhere, and children do not need to read to understand this universal language. Included are photographs of 27 wordless signs seen along the highway.

Jones, Jeffrey Owen, and Peter Meyer. The pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2010.

Kalman, Bobbie. The United States from A to Z. New York: Crabtree Publishing, 1999. This book is an alphabetical introduction to various aspects of the United States, such as "Baseball," "Kennedy Space Center," "Presidents of the U.S.A.," and "Yellowstone."

Leepson, Marc. Flag: An American Biography. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2005.

Quiri, Patricia Ryon. The American Flag. New York: Children's Press (Grolier). 1998. the book describes the history and Patriotic Symbols 17 Kindergarten, Standard 2 April 8, 2001symbolism of the American flag. The information is more for teacher background than for reading to students. Other True Books are available for the Bald Eagle, and The State of Liberty.

The Pledge of Allegiance. New York: Scholastic (Cartwheel). 2000. Stunning photographs are used to depict the words of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Swanson, Julie. I Pledge Allegiance. Illustrated by Rick Hanson. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books. 1990. The easy-read book describes how and why the Pledge of Allegiance was written, how it has changed in wording over the years, and precisely what it means. It is too difficult to read to kindergarten students but does have good content for the teacher.

Thomson, Sarah L., Bob Dacey, and Debra Bandelin. Stars and Stripes: The Story of the American Flag. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2003.

Tiner, John Hudson. The Story of the Pledge of Allegiance. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2003.




Appendix A

Connecticut State Social Studies Standards:

Standard 1: Content Knowledge - Knowledge of concepts and information from history and social studies is necessary to promote understanding of our nation and our world.

1.1 The student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of significant events and themes in United States history. Explain the significance of historical figures and/or history-related holidays (e.g., Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Veterans' Day)

1.2 The student will be able to describe the importance of significant events in local and Connecticut history and their connections to United States history. Compare and contrast personal and peer experiences to the lives and experiences of people in different generations as it relates to specific topics.

1.3 – The students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of significant events and themes in world history/international studies. Analyze how one's own cultural heritage (e.g., holiday celebrations, dress and customs) has changed over time.

1.5 – The student will be able to describe the interaction of humans and the environment and explain how rules and laws help to establish order and ensure school safety.

Standard 2 – History/Social Studies Literacy Competence in literacy, inquiry and research skills is necessary to analyze, evaluate and present history and social studies information.

2.1 – Access and gather information from a variety of primary and secondary sources including electronic media (maps, charts, graphs, images, artifacts, recordings and text). 1. Access and gather information from nonprint materials with teacher support (e.g., artifacts, guest speakers, technology). 2. Gather information from listening to and reading nonfiction texts.


  1. Gardner, 3
  2. Foner, vii
  3. Leepson, 4
  4. Ibid
  5. www.usa-flag-site.org/history
  6. www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.
  7. Parades,
  8. www.va.gov
  9. www.usmint.gov
  10. Ibid,
  11. Ibid,
  12. www.nps.gov/stil/
  13. Ibid
  14. www.baldeagleinfo.com
  15. www.history.com
  16. www.whitehouse.gov

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