With summer in full swing, patriotic holidays will be inspiring the red, white and blue in all of us.
Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day… all these holidays and more are reason to celebrate. Why not bring your class into the celebration with a few red, white and blue themed activities this summer?
How to Proceed
A Reading Rainbow
You can start your red, white and blue day with a few books about color. Most school libraries have plenty of books from which to choose. If you are looking for specific color books, you can try Color by Ruth Heller, Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African Book of Colors by Ifeoma Onyefulu, or The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf. You can also ask your students what their favorite color themed books are, and invite them to bring in any that they may have at home.
After reading some examples, have students write their own color books. How you do this will depend on the age of your students. For those who are very young, ask your students to draw an example of something for each color. You can stick with red, white and blue or expand it to include orange, yellow, green, purple, brown and black. On the red page they could draw apples, fire engines or hearts. The white page may have snow, a kitten or popcorn. Try not to do too many different pages with your class at one sitting to avoid your students losing interest in the project. After students have colored all the pages, ask them to make a cover for their book and then staple them together. If you have printed words on the pages (for example, red is…white is…blue is…) you can read one aloud to the class while the follow along in their own books. This reading activity will be good for developing sight word skills and will also give your students a chance to share their creativity. For older students and their books, ask each person to describe how a certain color feels or makes them feel. Red is hot and spicy. White is calm and pure. Blue is moody and wet. You can combine all the answers and make a class book or let your students compile their own books once again. If your students are able, ask volunteers to read their books to the class.
Up for a Visit
If you can manage it in your schedule, a red, white and blue theme can provide a week of activities with visits from public service members. On red day, invite the fire fighters to come and visit your classroom. You can also ask them to bring the fire truck and talk to your students about fire safety. Many times, they will bring hats for the kids and allow them to sit in the fire truck. This is a memorable and exciting experience for your students. Don’t be surprised if many of them decide they want to become firefighters after an exciting visit from a real life hero.
For white day, ask a nurse to come and talk to the class. Hospitals often offer in school field trips that come with educational programs about being healthy. You can ask your nurse to talk about proper nutrition, having good hygiene or what it is like when you break a bone. He or she can put gauze bandages on your students’ fingers or give out samples of hand sanitizer. By doing this, you will help your students to be brave and not be afraid the next time they have a cut or have to go to the hospital.
The boys in blue round out the week with a visit from a local police officer. Your local department may have an officer who specializes in giving programs at schools. He or she will probably want to talk with the kids about how the police are their friends and are available to help them not punish them. It is surprising how many parents threaten to punish their children by sending them to jail. The classroom officer may also talk about the DARE program or other information designed for use in schools. Of course, you will want to have the squad car and give the kids the chance to sit in the back seat and hear the sirens and see the lights if the officer says it is okay.
You can easily turn your classroom into a red, white and blue bonanza with very little preparation. On a bulletin board or just on a blank wall, post labels for each of the colors red, white and blue. Then ask your students to bring in pictures from magazines of items that are each of these colors. Anytime a student brings a picture in, allow him to post it with either a pushpin or a piece of tape. Before long you will have an extensive collection of examples for each color.
You can decorate yourselves, too, by dressing in a color theme for the day. Choose one day and encourage all your students to wear red. (This might be good for the day the firefighter comes.) Choose another day for wearing white. Choose another day for wearing blue. Take pictures of your class on these days and post those pictures on the color wall with the magazine cutouts (or share them on BusyTeacher’s Facebook Wall!).
Finally, you can decorate your lunch break with a little red, white and blue fruit salad. You do not have to get complicated. A simple mixture of strawberries and blueberries with a dollop of whipped topping makes a fancy feeling snack that is too easy to be true. (Just be careful there are no berry allergies in your class.) It is a tasty way to round out a week of red, white and blue flare.
Whether you are celebrating a patriotic holiday or just looking for something fun to do this week in class, a red, white and blue week can be the answer.
It may not be easy being green, you can ask Kermit about that, but red, white and blue fun is just waiting for you to grab it.