Teaching United States Symbols
Although sometimes it’s not necessarily mandated that first and second grade classrooms have a strict social studies curriculum, I still made it a point starting last year to teach snippets of United States history and government last year! For the most part, I ended up having to design my own lessons and tests.
I taught everything from levels and functions of government, to United States symbols. We even had a mock race for classroom mayor! Even students in the lower elementary grades can benefit from learning some parts of how our country works.
For United States symbols, it has been easier to teach this in my Montessori classroom this year. Since many of my social studies and history lessons rely heavily on nomenclature cards (a type of flash card, for the non-Montessori trained), I have been able to make several sets of cards for students to review. I have a set that consists of many symbols that have come to represent our country, such as the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle, and the presidential seal. I also have another, more specialized set of cards that shows the history and evolution of the United States flag.
Did you know our flag has been through more than 10 changes to get us to the one we know and recognize now? Brush up on your United States flag history and you may learn a lot!
Some other ways I have found to make children love learning about a topic they may find otherwise boring include having them design their own flag, and playing symbol recognition games on Kahoot.
For the design a flag activity, each student will receive a piece of blank paper and a few rules: They must incorporate the colors red, white, and blue, and they must use stars and stripes in some way. They are then free to reimagine the flag and I have had some very cool results!
Kahoot has several symbol recognition quizzes. My kids at first struggled with not blurting answers, so if you have never played Kahoot before, maybe try a few practice rounds.
I hope you have enjoyed my tips and happy teaching!