Veteran’s Day Lesson Plan

Subjects: ELA, ELD, History/Social Science

Grade: 1

Teachers: Heather Morgan (BST) and Lindsay Messner (MT)

School: Newport Heights ES

Date: October 25, 2016 and November 4, 2016
Part I – GOALS AND STANDARDS
1. Common Core Learning Standard(s) Addressed:
ELA
W.1.5 With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions, and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen
writing as needed.
2. State Content Standard Addressed (History/Social Science, Science, Physical Education, Visual and Performing Arts):
History/Social Science
1.3.2 Understand the significance of our national holidays and the heroism and achievements of the people associated with them.
3. ELD Standard Addressed: (include Part I, II; Communicative Modes – A. Collaborative, B. Interpretive, C. Productive; and Proficiency
Level addressing – Emerging, Expanding, Bridging)
ELD.PI.1.12a (Bridging) Retell texts and recount experiences using increasingly detailed complete sentences and key words.
4. Learning Objective: (What will students know & be able to do as a result of this lesson?)
SWBAT compose a thank you letter to a Veteran discussing the significance of Veteran’s Day and
recognizing the achievements of veterans (Bloom’s Taxonomy: Create).

5. Relevance/Rationale: (Why are the outcomes of this lesson important in the real world? Why are
these outcomes essential for future learning?)
Every day we enjoy freedom, of religion and of speech, for example. We need to develop a sense of
pride in our nation by being thankful for such freedoms. Behind these freedoms are the service and
sacrifices of veterans. This means that we recognize, appreciate, and celebrate the achievements of
veterans, past and present.

STUDENT-FRIENDLY
TRANSLATION
I will write a thank you letter to a
Veteran that tells why Veteran’s Day is
important and describes an achievement
of veterans.
STUDENT-FRIENDLY
TRANSLATION
I am thankful for the freedom we have in
American. I can recognize and celebrate
the achievements of veterans.

6. Essential Questions:
Why is Veteran’s Day important?
How do Americans celebrate Veteran’s Day?
How can you appreciate a veteran?
Part II – STUDENTS’ INFORMATION
7. Demographic Profile:
a) Total number of students
a. There are 22 students: 13 boys and 9 girls.
b) English Learners/Standard English Learners
a. (There are 2 ELs, Hispanic in nationality, speaking Spanish at home)
b. Proficiency levels:
i. Early advanced-1
ii. Early intermediate-1
c) Students with special needs
a. Autism
i. There are 1 students with IEPs for autism.
b. Sensory processing-1 that receives occupational therapy privately
c. Visual impairment
i. There are 2 students who wear prescription glasses. One of those students 1 wore an eye patch to correct a visual impairment
last year in kindergarten. However, it is not required this year.
d. ADHD
i. There is 1 student who is known to be diagnosed with ADHD. He takes a prescribed medication before school. He tends to be
most hyperactive in the morning. Mrs. Messner believes, this is due to the timing of the medication; if the medication is given
later than usual, the desired effect is delayed.
e. Being considered for testing
i. There is 1 student with hyperactivity and at other times inattentiveness, impulsivity. Mrs. Messner suspects a ADHD. The
child’s mother suggests that he needs hand-on, kinesthetic/sensory learning experiences.
d) Academic language abilities, content knowledge and skills in content area
a. Recently the class studied Johnny Appleseed. They compared and contrasted now and long ago. They have discussed the season of
fall, however, this will be the first history lesson regarding a national holiday. No previous formal assessment.
b. Mrs. Messner teaches thematically. The themes are CCSS ELA based with embedded history or science CA content standards.
e) Linguistic background
a. There are 2 ELs, Hispanic in nationality, that speak Spanish at home. One student is known to have one parent who speaks very
limited English and the other has a high proficiency in speaking English.

f)

g)
h)

i)

j)

k)

b. Most students are native English speakers.
Cultural background
a. What countries are represented in students’ families?
i. Of the 22 students, the majority of students are white/Caucasian. There are 3 Hispanic students and 2 Asian students. The
Asian students are from Korean descent.
Health considerations
a. One student is known to have asthma. An inhaler is available in the school nurse’s office.
Physical development factors that may influence instruction in this academic content area
a. “By this time, children can dress themselves, catch a ball more easily using only their hands, and tie their shoes. Children should have
at least one hour of physical activity each day.”
b. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/middle.html
Social development factors that may influence instruction in this academic content area
a. “Friendships become more and more important. Children pay more attention to friendship and teamwork. They want to be liked and
accepted by friends. Children have less focus on one’s self and more concern for others.”
b. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/middle.html
Emotional development that may influence instruction in this academic content area
a. “This is a critical time for children to develop confidence in all areas of life, such as through friends, schoolwork, and sports. Children
start to think about the future. Children understand more about his or her place in the word. Children should be recognized for their
accomplishments. Children should develop a sense of responsibility. Children should be encouraged to respect others and help people
in need.”
b. There is much parent involvement on a daily basis. Parent volunteers have a weekly commitment and assist students during AR or
center time, as well as perform basic organizational tasks. There is also a room mom. The room mom coordinates the decoration of
classroom doors to display student work in the monthly theme, sends communication to parents via email, develops the class
Shutterfly (photos) website, and coordinates class parties/special events.
Interests/Aspirations (relevant to this academic content area)
a. Students enjoy the thematic unit structure. They are often engaged with multiple types of text regarding a topic, such as Johnny
Appleseed or Thanksgiving, which will be next. Specific interests regarding history are unknown. I would have liked to give some
type of “what I want to be when I grow up” activity.

8. Anticipated Difficulties (Based on the information above, what difficulties do you think students may have with the content? Please specify
anticipated difficulties for English Learners, Standard English Learners, and/or students with special needs. )):
a. Both EL students may have difficulty accessing key vocab terms in the text.
b. Students with special needs:
Autism: one identified student may have difficulty staying in his seat due to a need to receive positive feedback on work.
Sensory processing: one identified student may have trouble focusing and paying attention during the reading of the text and during whole group
discussion.

Visual impairment: if the two identified students do not wear their prescription glasses (ex. forgot at home), they may difficulty seeing the text or
visuals.
ADHD: one identified and one unidentified student may have trouble focusing and paying attention during the reading of the text and during whole
group discussion.

Part III - LESSON ADAPTATIONS
9. Modifications/Accommodations (What specific modifications/accommodations are you going to make based on the anticipated difficulties?
Ex:) Please specify modifications/accommodations for English Learners, Standard English Learners, and/or students with special needs.)
a. ELs:
TW provide visual support and movement to accompany new vocab word introduction (see sample vocab cards).TW provide opportunities for
students to partner share. SW discuss responses to oral questions during discussion. SW also partner share regarding their writing piece. While
writing, all students will see a displayed sample letter with sentence frames. This will help S to generate responses to essential questions.
b. Students with special needs:
Autism: TW address the rule that students are to remain seated unless they ask permission. SW share their work with a partner at an appropriate time
in order for each student to receive feedback. TW display 1 or 2 exemplar student work samples in order to recognize their achievement. SW develop
a sense of responsibility of their learning throughout the procedure of this lesson.
Sensory processing: TW will provide opportunities for total physical response (TPR). TW provide movements to accompany vocab words.
Visual impairment: TW adjust seating in close proximity to instructional materials and/or teacher.
ADHD: TW will provide opportunities for total physical response (TPR). TW provide movements to accompany vocab words.
10. 21st Century Skills – Circle all that are applicable
Communication AND Collaboration: SW partner share during discussion before, during, and after text. For example, turn and tell your partner 3
ways you can appreciate a veteran. SW partner share their writing pieces during closure.
Critical Thinking: SW think about the essential questions and then discuss their ideas with a partner. (See essential questions above.)
Creativity: SW create their own letter to a veteran. Their piece of writing will display their understanding of the holiday and the people involved.
11. Technology - How will you incorporate technology into your lesson?
● Video clip will be displayed on SMART Board.
● Student exemplar work will be displayed via document camera.
Part IV - ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING
12. Assessment Criteria for Success: (How will you & your students know if they have successfully met the outcomes? What specific
criteria will be met in a successful product/process? What does success on this lesson’s outcomes look like?)

a. Formative:
TW assess student participation in oral discussion before, during and after the reading of the text. SW engage in oral discussion with meaning and
purpose. TW also assess the engagement of the students through the use of hand gestures/TPR.

b. Summative (if applicable):
SW write a thank you letter to a veteran. TW display a sample letter with sentence frames.
Dear Veteran,
Veteran’s Day is________________.
Thank you for________________.
Love,
_____________
TW assess student writing according to rubric. The rubric assesses three components. 1) Letter describes what is Veteran’s Day in detail. 2) Letter
describes at least 1 achievement of veterans. 3) Letter includes a minimum of 2 key words from the informational text (Ex. veteran, achievement,
honor, celebration, sacrifice). (DOK level 1)

3

2

1

Fully Evidenced

Need More

Not Evident

Criteria
Information
Description of Veteran’s Day

Letter describes what is
Veteran’s Day in detail.
(Ex. Veteran’s Day is a
time to celebrate the
accomplishments of
veterans.)

Description of Achievement
of Veterans

Letter describes at least 1
achievement of veterans.
(Ex. Thank you for serving
our country.)

Details using Key Vocabulary Letter includes a
minimum of 2 key words
from the informational
text. (Ex. veteran,
achievement, honor,
celebration, sacrifice)

Writing is
beginning to
convey an
understanding of
Veteran’s Day.

Writing does
NOT convey an
understanding of
Veteran’s Day.

Writing is
beginning to
convey an
understanding of
the achievements
of veterans.

Writing does
NOT convey an
understanding of
the achievements
of veterans

Student includes
1 key word.

No key words
are used.

Part V - INSTRUCTIONAL PROCEDURE
13. Instructional Method: Direct Instruction
14. Resources/Materials: (What texts, digital resources, & materials will be used in this lesson?)
● Scholastic video




Let’s Celebrate Veteran’s Day by Barbara deRubertis
Vocab cards
Envelopes
Veteran’s Day writing paper

15. Procedure- 1 hour
OPEN- 10min:
5 min (Madeline Hunter #1: Anticipatory Set): TW engage the students by introducing the topic. “Next week we have a day off of school for
Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s day is a holiday. What other holidays do you know? Veteran’s day is all about celebrating veterans. Do you know what a
veteran is? Would anyone like to share what they think a veteran is? While you are watching the clip, I want you see if your ideas are correct. TW
show video that describes, “what is Veterans Day?” TW pause the clip 2-3 times and ask students to share observations and ask questions, such as
what kinds of jobs do soldiers have in the military? How are the celebrating veterans? TW refer back to specific student response regarding the
definition of “veteran.” TW define veteran as a person who has completed military service. TW show picture card of the word veteran.
http://video.scholastic.com/services/player/bcpid1842760475?bctid=672277288001
5 min (Madeline Hunter #2a: Objective): TW state objective and purpose. “Today we will be reading an informational text about Veteran’s Day and
writing a thank you letter to a veteran. While I read the story, your job is to listen for why Veteran’s Day is important and why we celebrate veterans.
Then, you will have an opportunity to compose a thank you letter to a Veteran discussing what you learned. Repeat after me, ‘I will write a thank you
letter to a Veteran that tells why Veteran’s Day is important and describes an achievement of veterans.’” SW reflect on objective as T asks questions.
(Madeline Hunter #2b: Purpose): “Why is it important to learn about veterans? What have veterans done for us?” SW partner share ideas. TW call on
1-2 responses. “I am thankful for the freedom we have in America because of the veterans who served our country. That’s why I recognize and
celebrate the achievements of veterans. Show me thumbs up if you agree.”
BODY:
20 min (Madeline Hunter #3: Instructional Input):
TW read Let’s Celebrate Veteran’s Day by Barbara deRubertis. Upon encountering the following words, TW display vocab cards with definition,
example, and hand movement. T reads sentence with the word, “honor” on page 3. TW stop and show vocab card. “To honor is to respect, just like
how we respect the American flag by putting our right hand over our heart. Tell your neighbor what ‘honor’ means. Now let’s say it together. To
honor is to respect.” T reads sentence with the word, “veteran” on page 4. TW stop and show vocab card. “A veteran is a person who has completed
military service. Tell your neighbor what a veteran is. Now let’s say it together. A veteran is a person who has completed military service.” T reads
sentence with the word, “sacrifice” on page 25. TW stop and show vocab card. “To sacrifice is to give something up, just like how veterans give up
time with their families to work as a soldier. Tell your neighbor what ‘sacrifice’ means. Now let’s say it together. To honor is to give something up.”
T reads sentence with the word, “celebrate” on page 28. TW stop and show vocab card. “To celebrate is to remember and enjoy a day or event, just
like how we can celebrate veteran’s with a parade. Tell your neighbor what ‘celebrate’ means. Now let’s say it together. To celebrate is to remember
and enjoy a day or event.” T reads sentence with the word, “achievement” on page 6. TW stop and show vocab card. “An achievement is something
that was done or accomplished, just like a veteran wears ribbons on his/her uniform to show his/her accomplishments in military service. Tell your
neighbor what ‘an accomplishment’ is. Now let’s say it together. An accomplishment is something that was done or accomplished.” After story is

complete, TW say, “this book gave us a lot of information about veterans and how they are celebrated. Let’s think about how can we appreciate a
veteran.” SW partner share their ideas. Then, we will take turns sharing ideas in whole group. TW say, “today you will be able to write a letter to a
veteran”
5 min (Madeline Hunter #4: Modeling): TW model a sample letter to a veteran and display under the document camera. TW read it to the class:
Dear Veteran,
Veteran’s Day is a day that we celebrate your
accomplishments in the military. Thank you for
serving our country.
Love,
Ms. Morgan

TW state the three things that each letter needs to say: 1) Letter describes what is Veteran’s Day in detail; 2) Letter describes at least 1 achievement
of veterans; 3) Letter includes a minimum of 2 key words from the informational text (Ex. veteran, achievement, honor, celebration, sacrifice). TW
display a second letter with sentence frames. TW read it to the class:
Dear Veteran,
Veteran’s Day is _________________.
Thank you for __________________.
Love,
______________

1 min (Madeline Hunter #5: Checking for Understanding): TW check for understanding by asking students, “Do you understand what your job is?”
SW respond with thumbs up, side, or down. TW say, “tell your neighbor what your first sentence will be. Veteran’s Day is __________. Then you
may begin.” TW follow up with further explanation for those who responded with a thumbs down.

10 min (Madeline Hunter #6: Guided Practice): SW start to work on their letters while T circulates the room and answers questions or make
comments toward student progress. TW display sentence frames and vocab cards for reference.

CLOSE:
5-10 min (Madeline Hunter #7: Independent Practice): SW finish writing their letters. SW write at least 2 sentences and meet criteria stated in rubric.
5 min (Madeline Hunter #8: Closure): TW close lesson by having S share their letters with a partner in their table groups. TW show student exemplar
work under document camera. TW ask if the piece meets the rubric criteria. Does this letter tell us what Veteran’s Day is? Does this letter describe an
achievement of veterans? Does this letter include at least 2 of the vocab words? TW re-state objective. Today your job was to write a thank you letter
to a veteran that tells why Veteran’s Day is important and describes an achievement of veterans. Do you feel we met this objective today? SW show
a thumbs up or down.
(I delivered letters to the VA Hospital in Long Beach. The letters went to the nurse’s station, who said she would deliver them to the patients and
hang the poster. I included the school address in each of the letters in case the veterans would like to return correspondence.)
Part VI - REFLECTION
1. Please include your rubric data here.
Criteria
Description of Veteran’s Day
Description of Achievement
of Veterans
Details using Key Vocabulary

3
Fully
Evidenced
14/21=67%

2
Need More
Information
2/21

1
Not Evident

16/21=76%

2/21

3/21

20/21=95%

1/21

0/21

5/21

Considering the number of students who “fully evidenced” the criteria on the written assessment, 67% of students were able to describe Veteran’s
day by completing one sentence frame, “Veteran’s Day is ____________.”. For the description of achievement of veterans, 76% of students were
able to complete the second sentence frame, “Thank you for ___________.” Lastly, 95% of students were able to use at least 2 key vocabulary terms
in their letters.
2. Were the students successful at achieving the lesson objective?
a) If so, provide student evidence (Include 5 samples – low, medium, high, EL, & Student with Special Needs).
All students participated and were engaged in the letter writing activity. Most students were successful with achieving the lesson objective, as 67% of
students fully evidenced all criteria listed above. The description of Veteran’s Day answers the question, why is Veteran’s Day important? For
example, one student says, “Veteran’s Day is important because they help our world.” In the second sentence frame, students say thank you for

something the veteran has done. For example, another student says, “Thank you for keeping our country safe.” This statement recognizes the
achievements of veterans.
Notes for Student Samples:
Description of Description of
Veteran’s Day Achievement of
Veterans
Weston (High)
3
3
Emiliana (Medium)
3
3
Audrey (Low)
3
3
Beto (EL)
3
3
Steele
1
3
(Student with special needs)
More details
needed. Why do
we celebrate
Veteran’s Day?
Charlie
3
2
(Student with special needs)
Be more
specific. Why is
the veteran
brave?
James
3
3
(Student with special needs)

Details using
Key
Vocabulary
3
3
3
3
3

3

3

b) If not, why do you think they were not able to achieve the lesson objective? What are your next steps?
Not all students fully evidenced all criteria of the writing rubric and the objective. For example, the “low” student needed much encouragement and
further modeling to complete the sentence frames. The sentence frames were meant to guide thinking according to the objective. However, perhaps
this student and others could have benefited from an oral assessment as writing skills may have hindered them. Again, as writing skills are still
developing at this age, I would supplement the assessment with a checklist with the objective criteria and associated questions I could ask. I would
start with the students who need extra support, to prompt the students in their writing.
3. What instructional strategies did you use to help students achieve the lesson objective?
I explicitly taught vocabulary through choral repetition, visual support, and by connecting each word to TPR. I presented the content in different
ways: video clip and informational text. I modeled a sample written letter and provided sentence frames to guide thinking toward meeting the
objective. I checked for understanding through a thumbs up/down response and followed through by monitoring and formatively assessing student
progress and engaging in student discussions with key vocabulary terms.

4. What would you change about the lesson and why?
I struggled with pacing and keeping my lesson within the agreed time limit. I should have used a timer. Some students were extra excited to share
lengthy responses to my questions. I should have used more think-pair-share opportunities to provide everyone with an opportunity to express
thoughts. Also, I need to practice distinguishing between a student question, response, or comment during the reading of a text. Some comments
could be expressed at the end, not during, in order not to disrupt flow of lesson. I need to state behavior expectations up front and follow through
with consequences or incentives, such as the use of the behavior chart. This would decrease the amount of student who started to show off-task
behavior.