EducationGovernmentLesson Plans

Lessons for Veteran’s Day and Beyond

November 11th is Veteran’s Day in the United States; it is a day where we honor all veterans living or dead.  To observe this day I thought I’d share a nice resource that has made its way across my desk.  It is the Medal of Honor: Lessons of Personal Bravery and Self-Sacrifice created for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

I first became aware of this resource through a social studies teacher at my school as a possible source of lessons to be used during our bi-weekly bullying prevention sessions.  At first I was a little uncomfortable with this program, I feared that it was a white-washed, “rah-rah yay America” site, but what I discovered was a little bit different.

At its core is a set of short (under 10 minute) videos which are a mix of archival footage and interviews that highlight a particular recipient of the Medal of Honor.  These do not glorify war, but rather put a human face on the wars and conflicts in which the United States has engaged.  I found that hearing the stories of the recipients brought home the reality of war in a way that other sources did not.

This is primarily a character development program and so many of the lessons are only applicable to that situation, but I was a little surprise to find lessons on irony, data analysis, imagery in music and art and how it is used to influence people’s opinions.  There are lessons that focus on perception and how two different people can be in the same place at the same time and experience completely different things.

When you arrive at the site you do need to set up a free account to view the complete lesson plans.  As you skim through the table of contents you click on a title that you find interesting.  It gives a timeframe, the type of class (language art, social studies,  fine arts, etc.), the level the lesson was written for and the objectives.  You can then open the full lesson plan, which I have found to be well written and easy to modify to your personal needs.  There are also papers and handouts provided that are of good quality, but unfortunately are in PDF form and mildly irritating to modify.

I have used a lot of resources in my time as a teacher.  There is a lot of crap out there that is designed to look good, but when you actually start to use it you find that it is nigh useless.  Slapped together by a textbook writer and never tested in the classroom.  It takes you so much time to modify it and form it into a useful tool that you might as well have started from scratch.  This is not one of those resources.   Granted I have only used this in the context of bullying prevention, but each time I have used it I found that I could just use it as is.  No modification needed, which is high praise from a person who shudders at the thought of having to teach the humanities.

On a final note a thanks to all the veterans who have sacrificed so that I can live the life I do.

Featured image Army Congressional medal of Honor Public Domain US Government

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Jennifer teaches science in a public school in Pennsylvania. She lives there with her husband and two dogs.

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