Oakland celebrates Patriotic Day

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Airplanes were swarming through the gymnasium.

In the library, pictures of Benjamin Franklin were on every table.

Drums and torches were being created every minute with images of Founding Fathers and famous places on them.

Email newsletter signup

History was anything but dull Tuesday afternoon, as Oakland Elementary School’s first-grade classes celebrated “Patriotic Day.”

The brainchild of the school’s resource teachers, Patriotic Day is a time for the students to learn different Standards of Learning through art, music and stories.

“The kids love it, and it’s just another fun way to get them up, get them moving,” said Sherry Gross, one of the school’s first grade teachers. “It’s all SOL related, so they are learning while they go.”

Each of the school’s three first-grade classes rotated between four stations. At one station, students made their own torches, while learning more about the Statue of Liberty. At a second station, students made their own drums, which they decorated with patriotic symbols such as the Liberty Bell or pictures of George Washington. At the third station, students created a Benjamin Franklin picture using a printing press-like technique. And, finally, at a fourth station, students made and played with airplanes while learning more about Orville and Wilbur Wright.

In the gymnasium, where the planes were flying, students followed instructions on putting together the Styrofoam planes.

Off to one side, Jorge Gonzalez and Trent Sabato were in a discussion of how the wings fit in the plane.

“I think it’s like this,” Jorge said, lifting his plane to show as a model.

“Yeah,” Trent said as he looked up, modeling his own aircraft. “That looks good.”

Five minutes later, the boys were in opposite lines, soaring their planes across the gym and looking to see whose plan made it the farthest.

Gross said these activities are useful, because not only do the kids get to work and play together, but they also are putting together SOLs from more than one subject area.

Many of the students’ social studies SOLs revolve around these patriotic symbols, but flying the planes also offers a comprehensive look at education, because some of the science SOLs are reinforced with the ideas of motion and flight.

“It’s interactive, which is fun, but it’s all educationally based,” Gross said. “It all comes together, which is neat for the kids to see.”