Monday, November 2, 2009

America’s Heritage: an adventure in liberty

image  The American Heritage Foundation is  “a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens.” I received a cd-rom to review that contains K-12 lesson plans on U.S. heritage intended to supplement existing school resources. Since Emily is in the fourth grade, I focused on the lessons for elementary students, although lesson plans are also included for middle and high school levels. The plans are designed for public school classrooms, but are easily adaptable for home schools.

Each of the fourteen lesson plans focuses on an aspect of our American heritage. The two lessons I began with were “The US Flag” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” Some of the other topics are Colonial America, The Declaration of Independence, the Statue of Liberty, and George Washington. Each topic also focuses on a theme such as honesty, freedom, unity, or responsibility. Although the format of each lesson varies, each begins with a few pages of information about the topic to be read and discussed. An activity to reinforce the topic follows. The activities include games, crossword puzzles, charts, and finger puppets. The activity for “The Star Spangled Banner” was putting back together the song, which had been cut into pieces, each containing a short phrase.

We actually spent no more than half an hour each on the two activities that we tried, making it an easy way to add teach things about our American Heritage that might not be included in an existing curriculum. I feel that these lessons were a good use of our time and were well-written and enjoyable to implement.

And….the best part about America’s Heritage….the materials are free of charge at The American Heritage Foundation, either as a download or on a cd. The lessons may also be purchased in printed form for only $19.50.

 I received this item free for review purposes.

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