November is a crazy month. It signals that we have officially entered the holiday season, and for most people, that’s when the rubber hits the road. We start shopping for gifts, plan out extended family dinners, and decorate every square inch of our homes. Given the holiday rush, it can be easy for most people to overlook Veterans Day. That’s unfortunate because this unassuming holiday really shouldn’t be missed.

As my colleague Jamie MacPherson has written previously, it’s not only important to teach students gratitude for these brave men and women, but to find ways they can interact with them as well. Veterans have played a significant role in the development of our country since the Revolutionary War. They have much to teach us about courage, dedication, and selflessness. Students, meanwhile, have the potential to help veterans with real-world problems both at home and abroad. So, why not use this holiday to pursue some memorable, meaningful learning?

Here are just a few activities that educators can use to celebrate Veterans Day with their students:

  • Host a Veteran: It’s quite possible that one of your students has a family member who has served in the United States armed forces. If you feel comfortable doing so, consider inviting them in to speak with your classroom. Encourage students to prepare respectful questions like, “What made you want to join the armed services?”, “Why did you choose that specific branch?”, and “What did you learn while in the service?”. Connecting Veterans Day to an actual veteran can help encourage student curiosity and engagement.
  • Have a Read Aloud: There are many great books which can teach young readers about the history of Veterans Day as well as the soldiers who are currently serving in our military. For instance, The Wall, by Eve Bunting & Ronald Himler, tells the story of a father and son visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Then there’s Hero Mom and Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin and Bryan Langdo, which discusses what it’s like to be a child with parents in the military. A good book can go a long way in teaching students about social and emotional aspects of Veterans Day.
  • A Tour of America’s Wars: Each war is fought in a unique context. Help your students gain a deeper understanding of some of our nation’s wars by taking an interactive tour of the museum’s dedicated to remembering each conflict. First, share the Tour of America’s Wars Scavenger Hunt. Then, let them explore the Tour of America’s Wars Thinglink. Each student or group should choose one museum or memorial to explore. As they investigate the resource, they can use what they learned to complete their scavenger hunt.
  • Thank a Veteran: Help your students give back to the Veterans who have given so much. First, explore the Thank a Veteran activity and decide what course of action your class will take; you can do this yourself, or you can decide as a class. Then, follow the instructions provided in order to create and share something that a Vet will love!

If you found these activities helpful, be sure to check out the Blue Apple Timely Topic: Valuing our Veterans. In Valuing our Veterans, students learn about the brave men and women who work to defend our nation, and to understand the importance of recognizing their sacrifice! With the season of gratitude now upon us, there’s no better time to show our appreciation to the many people who have served our country. So, take a few hours this week and celebrate Veterans Day with your classroom. Show them how a little courage can make a world of difference.

For more free educational resources, check out these free tools and strategies from Blue Apple!