A Time To Remember
This is one of my favorite times of the year at school. It is a time to remember, focus on kindness and gratitude, and prepare for giving and sharing. With the arrival of fall, Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and Christmas is not too far behind. The summer has ended and the excitement of back to school is still in the air.
Along with all the times of thankfulness, we need to remember what sacrifices were made for some of the things we take for granted. Because of those who fought for our freedom, we are able to live a peaceful existence. Not everyone is that fortunate. As November nears, it is important to think about our veterans and remember.
November 11th is a day set aside for remembrance, but we need to remember throughout the year. This is a good time to start talking about gratitude, peace, and being kind to one another.
Preparing For November 11
In the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day or Veterans Day, there are many different activities and discussions that can be part of the school day. There are different points of focus that can be used, but I feel that the more we can help kids to connect with ways they can continue to promote peace and kindness the more likely we are to help them understand that they can make a difference.
I have always found music to be a great way to connect with kids. Here are some songs that I used in my classroom that were very meaningful and led to great discussions. They focus on peace, being special, and part of peace in the world. They also help us to remember to take time to remember those who fought for our peace.
Writing poems about peace and creating posters and drawings that show ways we can spread peace and kindness to others is something else that can be done as a lead up to November 11. These can be shared in assemblies, on bulletin boards, and in newsletters. Practicing acts of kindness and sharing moments of gratitude are also great ways to demonstrate how kids can help make peace a reality.
Resources for Remembrance
Here are some different resources that might help with preparing for Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.
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This is the time for remembering our veterans. Halloween is over and Thanksgiving and Christmas are not far away. Here in Canada, we have already celebrated Thanksgiving. It is with gratitude that we should be thinking of our veterans and the sacrifices they made for our freedom.
We are blessed if we live in a country where freedom is available for everyone. This is huge and we need to always remember that there are many places where this is not true.
November 11th is a day dedicated to our veterans for a time of remembrance. In 1918 at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month the Armistice agreement was signed that ended the first world war. We dedicate that time each year to a ceremony of Remembrance.
In Canada, we celebrate Remembrance Day, and in the USA, they celebrate Veterans Day. Our celebrations may differ slightly, but they are similar in one respect. They are a day to give thanks and remember.
This year things will be different. Many places will be celebrating virtually because of the pandemic. That doesn't mean we won't be taking the time to remember, it just means we may need to do it online or through a television broadcast.
It is important that we still take the time. Because it was so long ago, many of us don't really understand just how much sacrifice our veterans made for us. It is through stories, interviews, and research that we learn this.
When we see and hear of other countries that are still in a war zone, it is hard to truly understand what they are going through. We have so much to be thankful for.
In the week leading up to Remembrance Day, there are many opportunities to focus on this and share stories and information to help our students understand. This is a great time to do writing activities, reflections, posters, etc.
One of my favourite things to do was introduce songs of peace and remembrance to my students. This one has a big impact on children and adults. If you want to find out more about some of the other songs I used, check them out here.
I liked to focus on acts of kindness and peace. This is something that children can be a part of and they can understand that they can make a difference even now. Here is a poster I created to show them that one person can make a difference by sharing acts of kindness with others. This can create an explosion of kindness and peace. Get a copy for yourself by clicking on the image below.
Here are some other things that I created that can be used to help children understand and give thanks to our veterans.
Thank you to all our veterans and to those who continue to fight for peace and freedom.
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One hundred years ago at 11:00 on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, (November 11, 1918), World War 1 ended. This was known as Armistice Day. Many countries observe this day as a day of remembrance for all of the people who fought for our freedom. In Canada, ceremonies are held all over the country. Over time, veterans of other wars have been included in the memorials.
It is important that we teach our children about this day and what it means. Many people have never experienced war and its devastation. We don't truly appreciate the freedom that was given to us because of the sacrifice of our veterans.
Many people treat November 11 as a day off. It is my hope that we can remind people to take a few moments to remember and thank our veterans.
As we come to the end of October, it is time to think about the many things we can be thankful for. We are blessed to live in a country where freedom is available for everyone. This is huge and we need to always remember that there are many places where this is not true.
I have been retired for 2 years now, but I still volunteer at the school and I like to be able to participate in the Remembrance Day assembly and some of the activities leading up to it in the classrooms. It is so heartwarming to see that the teachers are still spending a significant amount of time sharing this important message with children.
In Canada, we celebrate Remembrance Day, and in the USA, they celebrate Veterans Day. Our celebrations may differ slightly, but they are similar in one respect. They are a day to give thanks and remember. We have freedom because of the actions taken by our veterans. We would not have that luxury if it wasn't for their sacrifices both many years ago and still today.
War is a reality in many countries and it is important that our students understand this. War is not a glamorized video game or action movie, it is a dangerous and painful situation that many children live with every day. They also need to see that they are able to do something to help make a difference even as children.
I love using videos to help kids to see what peace can be. Here is a link to a former post that I wrote that has several videos on it that we would watch the week before Remembrance Day. They led to many very important discussions.
Below is one of my favourites.
I hope that these thoughts will be helpful for you as you prepare to share this important time with you classes. If you would like some more materials to use in your classroom, check out the Remembrance Day/Veterans Day category in my TPT store for several free products.
It is hard to believe that it has been almost 100 years since World War 1 ended and 71 years since World War 2 ended. That means that most of us who are alive now never knew what it was like to live during war time. Most of our veterans have left us now and we only have stories and their memories to remind us of all that was sacrificed in order for us to have our freedom today.
It is very important that we share those stories and memories with our students so that we never take for granted what we have been given. With all the glorified movies and video games presented to us, we don't really understand the pain and anguish that was caused for families and the nightmares that our veterans had to endure.
When we think of Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, we should think about what we have gained from their sacrifices. We need to teach our children about the meaning of Peace. Not only do we need to talk about it, we need to model it. Many children live in situations that are not necessarily peaceful. School should be a safe place for them where they can feel at peace.
Many families have relatives or friends who are in the service now, or who served in some of the more recent wars and battles around the world. We need to think about them too. They are fighting battles that aren't even their own to give others freedom and a safe place to live.
I am retired now, but while I was teaching, I spent a lot of time on this subject because I felt it was more that just a one day thing that we recognized every year. Here is a blog post from last year that shares some of the things we did in the past years. It also includes some special video clips that I would play for the kids.
I had the opportunity to work with another teacher 's class last year and share this special topic with them. Here is the recap of that time.
Thank you for taking the time to reflect on this important moment in time.
Here are some other posts that might be of interest from some my teacher friends.
As we approach November 11, we focus on peace around the world. Children often feel that they can't do much to make a difference in the world. This is where we can help them to understand that they are the key to peace.
In the movie Pay It Forward, a class was challenged to come up with a change they could make in the world. This is when the idea of paying it forward was made popular. One boy's idea had the potential to change the world and make it a better place for many people.
Doing acts of kindness is a perfect way for children to help make positive changes in the world. Friendship is one way of sharing peace and spreading positive feelings. What better way to remember those who fought to give us peace than to spread peace to others through friendship.
As we get closer to Christmas, thinking about giving instead of getting is another way that we can spread goodwill and cheer to others around us. We have been blessed with many things. Here is hoping that we can help to bless others by sharing peace and kindness.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.