For those of you still in class, slowly counting down the days until another academic year comes to a close, you’re probably in search of great materials to make these final moments with your students memorable. Lucky for you, the end of May also marks an important holiday—Memorial Day!
More than just marking the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day honors men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military. Check out our Memorial Day 2016 Toolkit for informative resources from EducationCity to spice up your next social studies lesson. Our toolkit includes fact sheets, activity sheets, critical thinking questions known as ThinkIts and a classroom poster to help you and your students reflect on what this day means to them and to the people of our country.
How did Memorial Day become what it is today?
Following the Civil War, the United States established the first national cemetery to recognize those who lost their lives on the battlefield. By the late 1860s, Americans began decorating graves with flowers and honoring lost soldiers as a springtime tribute. In 1868, May 30th was designated as Decoration Day for the purpose of spreading flowers on the graves of lost comrades. Since then, the day has evolved to honor lost soldiers from other U.S. and world wars, and officially became a federal holiday known as Memorial Day in 1971, to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.
As you share the rich history of this holiday with your students, take the opportunity to discuss other traditions that they may engage in such as remembering loved ones or attending local parades. No matter how students choose to celebrate, use this opportunity to guide class discussion and share in learning more about a special day in history.
Help your students understand the true meaning of Memorial Day, this year, on May 30th! Don’t forget to download our Memorial Day 2016 Toolkit.