Flags as Tools to Share Identity

by Becky Rosenberg

  Printable version of the lesson

 

 

Grades: 4 and 5

Subjects: Social Studies, Language Arts

Author(s): B. Rosenberg, Lincoln Elementary School, Madison, WI. (with the help of Marc Kornblatt)

Estimated time for the activity:

3-4 class periods and homeworks (3-4 hours)

  • US flags and World Flags - compare flags, locate states on map with flag picture or miniature
  • READ newspaper article, outlining 5 vexillology standards for rating flags (WI Capital Times article, to be scanned or reproduced)
  • Development of personal flags, according to Vexillology guidelines, outlined in newspaper article, along with teacher created form (essays optional, presentation important)
  • Share history of Indian flag (world example) and pictures of US flag changes, with short discussions

Essential Understanding

How are people and places represented in different parts of the world, pictorally? This is one activity that allows kids to look critically at representation, of a group and of the individual, through flags.

Overview:

To start out the year, it's nice to think about how students would represent themselves if they could fly a flag to tell others about them. This activity looks at how flags are developed, what makes a "good" flag good, and encourages creative design. A great activity to start the school year!

Background information for Teachers:

Read and familiarize yourself with the WI Capital Times article and look through the website about the history of the US and the Indian flag.

Indian and US Flags: websites to consult:

Objectives

  • Students will apply vexillology guidelines to individual flag design, rank and judge flags (both individual flags designed by students and ones that represent US states and countries).
  • Students will present their designs and written descriptions orally to the class.
  • Students will classify, analyze and compare flags using the vexillology rubric and will learn the criteria of a “good” flag design (by examples chosen by teacher or 6 US states provided, and world flags compilation).

Instructional Activities:

Materials:

  • WI Capital Times article about vexillology , (class may develop their own simple, rubric based on 5 guidelines or use one attached),
  • Pictures and short historical write-ups, from websites, about US and Indian flags (see websites listed above)
  • Teacher example of individual flag or use example from B. Rosenberg, with essay/explanation as written example.

Assessment Activities

Use Vexillology guidelines to construct a class rubric to judge individual flags. Then they should go back and use that same rubric to judge various US and World flags.

5 criteria used: simplicity, colors, design, symbolism, representation

The rubric our class created had an assessment area for the kids to self assess, for their parent/guardian, for a peer and a teacher.

Content Standards

Students will

  • orally communicate information, opinions, and ideas effectively to different audiences for a variety of purposes related to flag design and history.
  • identify and examine various sources of information that are used for constructing an understanding of the past, such as artifacts, documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, paintings, architecture, oral presentations, graphs, and charts
  • give examples of group and institutional influences such as laws, rules, and peer pressure on people, events, and culture
  • identify connections between the local community and other places in Wisconsin , the United States , and the world
  • write clearly and effectively to share information and knowledge, to influence and persuade, to create and entertain.

Performance Standards (WI)

C.4.1 Orally communicate information, opinions, and ideas effectively to different audiences for a variety of purposes.

B.4.1 Create or produce writing to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes. Write expressive pieces in response to reading, viewing, and life experiences (narratives, reflections, and letters) employing descriptive detail and a personal voice

B.4.1 Identify and examine various sources of information that are used for constructing an understanding of the past, such as artifacts, documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, paintings, architecture, oral presentations, graphs, and charts

E.4.6 Give examples of group and institutional influences such as laws, rules, and peer pressure on people, events, and culture

A.4.7 Identify connections between the local community and other places in Wisconsin , the United States , and the world

Extension Activities/Discussions:

If our class was a country, or a group looking to make one flag, what would our design be? This might be a nice activity for a whole school, with each class preparing flags (and our class visiting each class and sharing a short 5-10 minute presentation with guidelines and summary of what they learned. Perhaps at a school assembly each class could present their flags and they, in turn, could hang class flags outside the classroom, for the year.

Look at other country or state flags of interest. Research or inquire into history, changes over time, and add to class bulletin board.

Go on a scavenger hunt through your city. When going through town, what flags are flown, by whom? Record this data and share with classmates.

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