Freedom Week!
September 24-28, 2001
We started out the week by collecting
"Pennies for Peace" to send to the
American Red Cross. After only 5 days,
our school collected over $500.00!  The
students are very excited about doing
what they can to help those in need.  If
you would like to donate directly to the
American Red Cross, click here.
We participated in our school's "Freedom March"
around the school grounds.  We came in costume  
waving hand-made flags to show our love for our
Once all 800 students arrived at the track, we stopped
marching to sing our national anthem.  
Soon after, students began chanting, "U-S-A!  U-S-A!"  
It was a powerful message to our students, our
community, and ourselves how Americans can stand
united at a moment's notice!
We were introduced to the Navy's "Pen Pal" program through Mrs. Carrie Beth
Lane, one of our fabulous parents.  "Our" ship is the USS Carl Vinson.  Each class
has pen pals aboard the ship.  We e-mail them class news, questions, and stories.  
They e-mail us with job descriptions, answers, and
their stories.  Many of the
sailors/airman  have been to many far-away places while aboard the Carl Vinson, so
they have lots of interesting information for us!  If you are interested in signing up
for a pen pal, you may contact Carrie by e-mail:
In fact, this page is a tribute of sorts.  The flag in the background was
"hand-painted" just for them.  Later, it will turn into one giant card with messages
from everyone written on the back.  We can't wait to send them their first care
packages!   We are very proud of our Armed Forces!!
The Pledge of Allegiance by Francis Bellamy
*The text of this book is simply the Pledge of Allegiance.  The meaning of
each part of the pledge is depicted using photographs.  It's a great tool for
discussing what the pledge means and for perfecting flag etiquette as well.  
Its text makes it a class favorite during independent reading.
The Flag We Love by Pam Munoz Ryan
*This book details the history behind our flag and what each part of the flag
represents.   In response to this book, each student created his/her own
torn-paper mosaic flag.  We hot-glued them to paint-stirring sticks and waved
them proudly while singing "You're a Grand Old Flag."   We carried these
proudly at our school's Freedom March.
Red, White, and Blue by John Herman
*After reading this book about American/patriotic symbols, we discuss their
familiarity and importance.  In response, students created their own Uncle
Sam "costumes" complete with stars, stripes, and curly white beards.  We
used these later during our school's Freedom March.
*It was also a great excuse to review ABC patterning by making red, white,
and blue paper chains to hang in the hall. (Our preK teacher challenged each
class to create enough chains to circle the entire school!)
America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates
*After reading the book, we sing it!  We discuss what makes America special
and what "freedom" means.  We chart the students' responses to the prompt:
"In America, I can ___________."
Later, we discuss the responsiblities of being an American citizen.  Students'
responses are charted for the prompt:
"I can be a good citizen by _________."
American Patriot by Lee Greenwood
*We just sing, sing, sing!
Our "Navy Dad," Chief Robert Lane came in uniform to answer our questions and
teach us even more about life aboard the USS Carl Vinson.  He brought lots of books,
pictures, and clothes to share!  It was very exciting to hear about the ship from
someone who had really lived and worked
on the ship.
Word about our relationship with the Carl Vinson sailors spread and we even ended
up on Houston's Channel 13 News!  They taped us singing "Anchors Aweigh" and our
national anthem, talking about the project, and even interviewing Chief Lane.  We
can't wait to send a copy of the news tape to our buddies along with our flag.  
Everyone who passed by the giant flag signed a message of support for our sailors.  
We are so proud of them!