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Activity

Veterans Day in the Classroom

Lesson plans, activities, and resources focus on wartime service and sacrifice.
Family with parents in the military
Published: 11/09/2020

On November 11, we honor the wartime service and sacrifice of men and women in the armed forces. Originally proclaimed Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I, it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to include American veterans of all wars.

The following lessons, activities, games, and resources will help your students celebrate service men and women past and present.

Resources for Grades K-5

The Veteran in a New Field, 1865
Students in grades K-12 view and interpret Winslow Homer’s 1865 painting The Veteran in a New Field. Teachers can download the Homer lesson ( PDF, 79 KB, 2 pgs.) as well as the “Teachers Resource Book” (PDF, 4.29 MB, 130 pgs.) for Picturing America, 40 art-historic images of paintings, sculpture, drawings, decorative objects and architecture that represent several centuries of U.S. history.

Wartime Poetry: Working With Similes
Students in grades 3-5 analyze a photograph, brainstorm words to describe a character’s senses and feelings, and then create a simply structured poem using their ideas and similes.

Veteran's Day and Patriotism
Students in grades 3-5 are introduced to some of the symbols, songs, and pledges that represent our country and which have special significance to veterans.

Veterans Day Is Celebrated in the United States Today
Students in grades 3-5 write biographical poems about a soldier following a provided format.

Activities

Background Resources

Veterans History Project, Library of Congress
Archive of veteran interviews from WWI to the present and two dozen interviews with pilots and crew members from WW II to the present.

Highlights in the History of Military Women (PDF, 162 KB, 9 pgs.)
Timeline from the American Revolution to 2008.

Veteran's Day: For Teachers and Students Teacher Resource Guide (PDF, 3.48 MB, 33 pgs.)

Video

Printables

Children’s Literature

  • Ansary, Mir Tamim. Veterans Day, 2nd Edition (Holiday Histories). Heinemann, 2001. Also in Spanish.
  • Ashabranner , Brent. Always to Remember: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Scholastic, 1992.
  • Ashabranner, Brent. Remembering Korea: Korean War. 21st Century, 2001.
  • Ashabranner, Brent. Their Names To Live By. 21st Century, 1998.
  • Brill, Marlene Targ. Veterans Day (On My Own, Holidays). First Avenue Editions, 2005. (also in Spanish)
  • Bunting, Eve. The Wall. Clarion Books, 1992.
  • Cotton, Jacqueline S. Veterans Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays). Children's Press, 2002.
  • De Capua, Sarah. The Vietnam Memorial (Cornerstones of Freedom). Children's Press, 2003.
  • Ferry, Joseph. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (American Symbols & Their Meanings). Mason Crest Publishers, 2002.
  • Henry, Heather French. Pepper's Purple Heart: A Veterans Day Story. Cubbie Blue Publishing, 2003.
  • Landau, Elaine. Veterans Day: Remembering Our War Heroes (Finding Out About Holidays). Enslow Elementary, 2002.
  • Nelson, Robin. Veterans Day (First Step Nonfiction). Lerner Publications, 2005.
  • Peter, James S. The Saga of Black Navy Veterans of World War II. International Scholars Press, 1996.
  • Rosinsky, Natalie. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (We the People). Compass Point Books, 2006.
  • Sevastiades, Patra McSharry. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Library of American Landmarks). PowerKids Press, 1994.
  • Schuch, Mari C. Veterans Day (Pebble Books). Capstone Press, 2003.
  • Worsley, Arlene. Veterans Day (American Holidays). Weigl Publishers, 2006.

Resources for Grades 6-8

Lesson Plans

The Veteran in a New Field, 1865
Students in grades K-12 view and interpret Winslow Homer’s 1865 painting The Veteran in a New Field. Teachers can download the Homer lesson ( PDF, 79 KB, 2 pgs.) as well as the “Teachers Resource Book” ( PDF, 4.29 MB, 130 pgs.) for Picturing America, 40 art-historic images of paintings, sculpture, drawings, decorative objects and architecture that represent several centuries of U.S. history.

Women Aviators in World War II: "Fly Girls"
Students in grades 6-8 explore the contributions of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II.

Activities

Background Resources

Veterans History Project, Library of Congress
Archive of veteran interviews from WWI to the present and two dozen interviews with pilots and crew members from WW II to the present.

Highlights in the History of Military Women ( PDF, 1.92MB, 9 pgs.)
Timeline from the American Revolution to 2008.

Veteran's Day: For Teachers and Students Teacher Resource Guide ( PDF, 3.48 MB, 33 pgs.)

Video

Printables

Resources for Grades 9-12

Lesson Plans & Activities

The Veteran in a New Field, 1865
Students in grades K-12 view and interpret Winslow Homer’s 1865 painting The Veteran in a New Field. Teachers can download the Homer lesson ( PDF, 79 KB, 2 pgs.) as well as the “Teachers Resource Book” ( PDF, 4.29 MB, 130 pgs.) for Picturing America, 40 art-historic images of paintings, sculpture, drawings, decorative objects and architecture that represent several centuries of U.S. history.

Building Vietnam War Scavenger Hunts through Web-Based Inquiry
Students in grades 9-12 work in small groups, adopt the perspective of members of a group involved in the war (e.g., soldier, nurse, doctor, photojournalist, TV reporter) and conduct Internet research to explore how that particular group was affected. After completing their research, students compose an internet scavenger hunt.

Love of War in Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell a True War Story”
Students in grades 9-12 explore the relationship of love and war by examining “How to Tell a True War Story.” Download this chapter ( PDF, 29 KB, 10 pgs.) of O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.

Background Resources

Veterans History Project, Library of Congress
Archive of veteran interviews from WWI to the present and two dozen interviews with pilots and crew members from WW II to the present.

Highlights in the History of Military Women ( PDF, 1.62, 9 pgs.)
Timeline from the American Revolution to 2008.

Video

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