The end of the school year is looming. Year-long studies are coming to a close. Final tests are in the air. And the dog days of summer is just around the corner. So is the kick-off holiday of the season: July Fourth.
For some, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the summer season, but with its proximity to school days winding down, Independence Day makes for a strong competitor in that category. Just because final tests and ongoing projects are coming to a close, doesn't mean there's no more opportunity for a little fun and learning to happen before that final day of class. Why not spend that last week with an impromptu celebration of one of the biggest holidays of the year.
A Crafty Decoration
Set up a craft station for those artsy students. Provide a wide selection of craft materials, from paper and paint to wiggle eyes and pipe cleaners. Leave them to their imagination, or provide them with these Fourth of July-themed craft ideas.
Fourth of July Fireworks
What You'll Need: toilet paper rolls, straws, colored paper, streamers, tape, paint, glitter, glue, scissors
What You'll Do: Paint the toilet paper roll any color or pattern. We suggest red, white, blue, stars, and stripes. Glue one end of the straw to the inside of the toilet paper roll. Make a cone shape with the colored paper and attach it to the other end of the toilet paper roll. Tear the streamers to make a flame effect and attach it to the end with the straw.
Red, White and Blue Lanterns
What You'll Need:red, white and blue colored paper, pencil, scissors, ribbon, glue, tape
What You'll Do:Fold the colored paper in half with the long sides together. Cut 1 inch wide sections along the folded end. Don't cut all the way through, leave about an inch of space. Unfold your paper and turn it in and attach the bottom and top together. You should have a lantern shape that bumps outward. Cut stars out of the colored paper and decorate your lantern with them. Attach the ribbon around the top and bottom. Make a handle with the ribbon or colored paper.
What You'll Need: colored paper, pencil with eraser, push pin
What You'll Do: Decorate your colored paper with a design, or glue a different color on the back of another colored paper. Cut out a square shape. From one corner to the center, cut a straight line. Don't cut all the way through. Leave a small space in the middle. Bring each corner to the center. Don't fold down. You should see a pinwheel shape starting to form. Push the pin through to attach the corners in the middle. Continue pushing the pin into the eraser of your pencil.
A Patriotic Play
For those dramatic students, set up a station for a short historical play. Here you can have your students research the history of Independence Day and choose their own skit that they would like to perform. There should be enough actors to fill each part, a director, a screenwriter, and set and costume designers. Here are some great stories to suggest.
The signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence
Battles of Lexington and Concord
Set up one more area for your book-loving students. Here they can work together to create something in writing for the rest of the class to enjoy. It could be a short story, poem, or even a short lesson plan. Students can work together or alone writing a fictionalized short story. They could detail the events of the American Revolutionary War, or write about the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from the perspective of someone who was there. Students can choose to write a poem for Independence Day. Have them research the different styles of poems to help them. Students could also try stepping into their teacher's shoes and create a short lesson plan for their fellow students. They could choose to present this to a class or provide it in the form of a handout. Some information and comprehension questions should be included. Also encourage them to include one extension activity, like a word search or crossword game.
For more great Fourth of July ideas, check out our pinterest board: https://pin.it/S7DBt8x