Symbols Lesson

Title Date
Symbols Lesson 2010-04-09
Time Frame  DOK
Objective Short Description
1. The learners will be able to identify a variety of important symbols which represent the values of citizens as members of the United States.
2. The learners will be able to distinguish between rules and laws.
3. The learners will be able to empathize with the framers of the United States Constitution by reading Shhh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz.
The lesson will cover a variety of important symbols which represent the values of citizens as members of the United States.
Grade Levels
Vocabulary Materials
Grade Level Expectations   (view gles)
Related Links and Resources
Lesson Plan

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  1. Objective One will be assessed through class discussions and the completion of a foldable, or graphic organizer, which illustrates some symbols of our nation and their meanings.
  2. Objective Two will be assessed with the completion of the No Trespassing, Please worksheet, and with adding the definitions for “rules” and “laws” to the unit vocabulary journal.
  3. Objective Three will be assessed through the information contained in individual Reader’s Workshop Journals. This information will include vocabulary, student reflective responses and class discussion reactions.

15 Minutes: Begin class by reviewing the topics of rules vs. laws from the previous class period. As we discuss the “No Trespassing Please” activity, we will clarify the primary difference between a rule and a law. The two major distinguishing characteristics we will use will be who enforces the rule (parents, family, teachers) or law (police and courts) and who the rule (a small select group, family, school) or law (all of the citizens living in a certain jurisdiction– city, state or country) applies to.

5 minutes: Ask students to get out a one dollar bill if they have one. Read aloud the “Looking at a One Dollar Bill” story and ask students to examine the images on the dollar bill in front of them as you read. The story will give details and information about the history of the one dollar bill and the meaning behind its many symbols and images, such as the presidential seal, a bald eagle, Latin phrases like “e pluribus unum”, thirteen stars, etc.

25 minutes: Now that students are more aware of the power of symbols and the prevalence of their use in our daily lives, they will be asked to create their own symbol of the United States, based upon the responsibilities and values they see as important for citizens. Students will draw and illustrate their symbols on the “Symbol of America” activity sheet and then share with their table partners.

20 minutes: After students have shared their symbols, they will be asked to generate a list of their “Top Four Favorite American Symbols”. This list will be completed in the form of a foldable, as a graphic organizer– see the symbols foldable scoring guide page. If not finished in class, this assignment will be completed for homework and then turned in to be posted around the classroom for the remainder of the unit.

10 minutes: Students will use active listening skills as the teacher reads aloud Jean Fritz’s Shhh! We’re Writing the Constitution. As they are listening, students will complete an entry in their Reader’s Workshop Journal using the attached template. This will be a recurring activity throughout the course of the unit and will take place at the end of each class period.

Instructional Strategies