This year Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 31 — that’s next Monday!
And while many people have a day off, educators may want to take the time to explore the holiday, its history, and its purpose. Here are some digital resources that can help you explain and commemorate Memorial Day with your students.
A Day of Memory
A federal holiday, meaning it is recognized as a holiday by the U.S. government, Memorial Day traditionally occurs on the last Monday of May. Unlike Veterans Day, which recognizes all those who have served in the military, Memorial Day is dedicated to those who have died in service to their country. Naturally, stories of military members can touch on a number of topics, from reading, English, and literature to history, civics, and other social studies topics. Moreover, science teachers might consider the technologies used in war. Of course, all teachers and students can learn from the history of conflict and from the lives of those who have fallen.
A great place to start is the Department of Veterans Affairs website, which outlines the holiday’s circuitous history from local, unofficial celebrations to federal holiday.
Resource-vetting site Edutopia shares multimedia links, classroom activities, and more ways to engage your students with the meaning of the holiday. You can find extensive, teacher-developed Memorial Day resources from Education World here. The Teacher’s Corner has collected many simple activities across grade levels with a focus on elementary grades. You can find elementary and secondary activities from the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) here.
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