Since Flag Day is Saturday, June 14 it seemed to be the perfect topic for an RPM lesson. I have gotten some fantastic responses from my kiddos as well as some strong opinions about whether it is appropriate to wear images of the flag on apparel. One of my favorite creative writing responses came from one of my younger kids, Carson.
I love the poetry in Carson’s newly developing creative writing skills. Carson is a soon to be 10 year old who started RPM on October 30, 2013. I know this date very specifically because Carson came in for his initial appointment fresh from a school Halloween party still wearing a Spiderman costume! That’s a first impression not easily forgotten. Let’s just say, Spiderman was an apt choice for this very active guy! Over the last seven months, Carson has settled into RPM very nicely. We started with making choices to answer questions in lessons then pointing to letters to spell out his answers. As Carson is engaged in learning, his physical activity has significantly decreased. He is able to sit and focus for the majority of the session. Every session, Carson’s expressive output increases as his motor learning for pointing to letters to spell improves!
(*The lesson is regular font, my comments or off the cuff remarks are in italics and Carson’s responses are in all capitals.)
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the United States flag, which happened on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Each Continental Congress was comprised of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies, which became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution. Our national flag contains 13 equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, and a blue rectangle in the corner holding 50 small, white, five pointed stars. The stars represent the 50 states of the United States of America. The stripes represent the 13 British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Commonly known as the American Flag, it is often referred to by several nick names including “Old Glory,” “Stars and Stripes,” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”
What are we going to talk about today? FLAG DAY
What date was United States Flag adopted? JUNE 14
What significance did 13 equal, horizontal stripes have? COLONIES
What significance did 50 small, white, five pointed stars have? STATES
What is a common nickname for the American Flag? OLD GLORY
Flag Day is not a national holiday, but President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day in 1916. In observance of Flag Day, the president issues a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American Flag for the duration of the week. The American flag is generally on display at all government buildings and you can often find private homes flying the flag year-round as well. Display and use of the American Flag is widespread on civic holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Presidents’ Day, Independence Day and Flag Day.
Is Flag Day a national holiday? NO
Which president issued the first Flag Day proclamation in 1916? WOODROW WILSON
What did the president ask citizens to do in observance of Flag Day? FLY THE FLAG
Name one civic holiday, other than Flag Day, where the American Flag is widely used. INDEPENDENCE DAY
The United States Flag Code outlines guidelines for use, display and disposal of the American Flag. One little known fact, the American flag should never be dipped or bowed to a person or thing unless it is responding to a salute from a ship of a foreign nation. Well known etiquette includes not allowing the American flag to touch the ground or be flown at night unless it is illuminated. Further, if a flag becomes worn, it should be repaired, replaced or destroyed. On Flag Day, organizations like the American Legion conduct “flag retirement ceremonies” to destroy worn flags properly. The American Legion is an organization that provides community support for war Veterans and their families.
What purpose does the United States Flag Code serve? TAKE CARE OF THE FLAG
Describe one well known flag etiquette tip. DO NOT TOUCH THE GROUND
What happens at a “flag retirement ceremony?” A FLAG IS BURNED (*notice that I did not say that the flags were burned! Carson is a pretty smart cookie!)
Many aspects of the Flag Code are ignored. Even though the Flag Code is federal law, there is no penalty for a citizen or group who violates the code. It is widely agreed that to penalize someone for display of the American Flag on apparel or personal wears to be a violation of the First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech. Flag code prohibits use for advertising purposes and states that the flag cannot be “embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins,boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.”
What kind of law is the Flag Code? FEDERAL….What does federal mean? NATIONAL (Again, I did not explain that federal law is national law! I love seeing all the things that my kids know!)
By presidential proclamation, acts of Congress or local custom, American Flags are displayed as several locations on a continuous basis. We can find flags on continuous display throughout the National Capital Area including Baltimore, Maryland at the Fort McHenry National Monument, Washington DC where fifty American flags are flown continuously at the Washington Monument, and Arlington, Virginia at the Marine Corps War Memorial, known commonly as the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima monument.
Name one location you can find the American Flag on continuous display. WASHINGTON MONUMENT
CREATIVE WRITING: Where have you commonly observed the Stars and Stripes? What does the presence of an American Flag inspire in you?
I ENJOY SEEING THE FLAG WAVING. IT MAKES ME FEEL HAPPY TO BE AMERICAN. I ENJOY SEEING THE FLAG BLOWING IN THE WIND. I’M HAPPY TO SING TO THE FLAG.
I love the national and international RPM communities that have formed over the internet. Here is a challenge to my readers who are from or who live in countries other than the United States. First, do this lesson on the American Flag with your child. Then, create a lesson on the flag of your country (this does not have to be anything complex or fancy!!!) and share it (you can post it in the comments section of this blog or message me on the Growing Kids Facebook page and I’ll post the lesson). This is a great opportunity to learn about each other and from each other! I promise to post what my kids learn from your lessons! ~Elizabeth