All last week we talked about why the 4th of July was special and what it means to us. By Thursday (our last day together before the holiday) most of the children seemed to understand why we celebrate the 4th. Here is one of the first conversations we had about this important holiday:
Ms. Elliot: Do any of you know what Saturday is?
Ms. Elliot: It’s a special holiday….
Children: (yelling) Christmas!
Ms. Elliot: (smiling) No – not Christmas, it’s the 4th of July. Does anyone know why we celebrate the 4th of July?
Children: (silent; blank stares)
Ms. Elliot: The 4th of July is America’s birthday!
Sweetie: Who’s America? Is it a boy or a girl?
Ms. Elliot: (smiling in amusement) America is not a person – it’s a place! Does anyone know where America is or why it’s special to us?
Sweetie: (bouncing excitedly) In my garage!
Ms. Elliot: (trying not to laugh hysterically at her random answer) No Sweetie – not quite! Okay guys, I’ll give you a hint: it’s also called The United States of America. Anyone know what that is?
BoyA: (very quiet, very shy – I can barely hear him) It’s where we live?
Ms. Elliot: Good job! That’s exactly right! America is the country where we live! And Saturday is America’s birthday!
Kitten: (obviously confused expression) No, we live in Midland. (a fictional name for our town)
Ms. Elliot: Yes, and Midland is in the United States of America!
Kitten: (still looks confused and slightly annoyed) Midland is in Colorado. (not our real state)
Ms. Elliot: Yes Kitten. We live in Midland, Midland is in Colorado, and Colorado is in the United States of America! And July 4th is America’s birthday!
BoyB: (very excited expression) Are we gonna have birthday cake?!
Ms. Elliot: That’s is something you’re gonna have to ask your mom and dad. But some of you might – and others won’t. The 4th of July is when we have fireworks to celebrate America’s birthday!
BoyB: (still excited – almost yelling) I saw those before! Those are neat! Can I have fireworks for my birthday too?!
Ms. Elliot: (trying not to laugh) You could ask your mom and dad – but they’re very expensive – they cost a lot of money – so I doubt they will say yes. (BoyB looks very disappointed)
BoyA: (in his still quiet voice) How old is America?
Ms. Elliot: (glad that she happened to look this up online the day before) America is 233 years old on Saturday!
Children: (various comments I heard) Wow! That’s old! That’s like dinosaurs! That’s like my mom! That’s older the me! I’m 4 – that’s bigger! I’m gonna get big like that someday! Wow – that’s cool!
Ms. Elliot: (after the children calmed down) So, the country where we live, America, is turning 233 years old on Saturday and to celebrate we have fireworks and picnics and fun with our family! On Monday I look forward to hearing what each of you did!
Class discussions are always interesting – and always enjoyable.
I hope everyone out there in Blogland has a great 4th of July! Stay happy, healthy, and safe!