A great leader is most known for his ability to inspire action through well-crafted words. Throughout history, U.S. leaders have delivered powerful speeches that have sparked change within the nation. With education a top priority, they have made powerful statements about learning and education.
This Presidents’ Day, we celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present by sharing 10 educational quotes made by U.S. presidents:
- If we want to invest in the prosperity of our nation, we must invest in the education of our children so that their talents may be fully employed. | Bill Clinton, 42nd President
- If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. | Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President
- Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation. | John F. Kennedy, 35th President
- Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write. | John Adams, 2nd President
- The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create. | Barack Obama, 44th President
- The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. | Gerald Ford, 38th President
You see, we’ll never be able to compete in the 21st century unless we have an education system that doesn’t quit on children, an education system that raises standards, an education that makes sure there’s excellence in every classroom. | George W. Bush, 43rd President
- Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. | John F. Kennedy, 35th President
- The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail. | George Washington, 1st President
- Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having. | Ronald Reagan, 40th President
BrainyQuote // DoSomething.org // 4tests.com // learningtogive.org // Huffington Post
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. committed his life to service and to promoting peace, equality and justice for everyone. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday as a national day of service to honor his legacy through volunteerism. Service learning is a teaching method that combines instruction with meaningful community service. It helps to empower students, strengthen communities and create solutions to social problems. This Monday, January 20, celebrate MLK Day by engaging students with service projects in the local community.
10 Service Project Ideas for Students:
- Put on gloves and visit the neighborhood park to pick up litter.
- Gather your favorite classic board games and organize a board game night at your local nursing home.
- Volunteer at the local animal shelter to feed, bathe and pet the animals.
- Conduct a coat drive at your school or afterschool center and donate items to local charity organizations.
- Collect gently used toys, video games and board games, and donate them to patients at a Children’s Hospital.
- Locate a Special Olympics event in your area and volunteer to help or cheer on the athletes.
- Collect aluminum cans from friends, family and neighbors, and donate the money to a local environmental charity.
- Visit a local food bank and volunteer to pack and hand out food.
- Run in a marathon to raise money for a cause.
- Create anti-bullying posters to hang around the school and local community.
For more service project ideas, check out these resources:
366 Community Service Ideas
Global Youth Service Day
Thanksgiving is a time when everyone reflects on the many things for which they are grateful, such as family, good health, job, etc. However, studies show there are benefits to expressing gratitude year-round. An attitude of gratitude yields positive emotions, like joy and happiness, and can lead to improved relationships and greater physical health. During the holiday season, children may have the tendency to become self-centered and focus more on themselves than others. Check out the following 10 books for children to help foster a sense of gratitude that will remain long after the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes, grades 1 – 5. Through a collection of 16 thoughtful poems, young children learn the importance of being thankful for everyday things.
- The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings by Mike Berenstain, grades k – 3. Children can ride along with the Bear family on Thanksgiving Day as Brother and Sister learn about all the things everyone can be thankful for, such as faith, family and the huge holiday feast.
- Andy and the Lion by James Henry Daugherty , grades k – 2. This retelling of Androclus and the Lion delivers a simple message of the power of gratitude.
- Giving Thanks by Jake Swamp, grades k – 2. Based on the Thanksgiving Address of the Iroquois people, this version provides insight on the Native American tradition of greeting the world each morning by giving thanks to all living things.
- The Thankful Book by Todd Parr, grades preschool – 1. This book hones in on the little things children can be thankful for, from reading and bath time to family celebrations and quality time with parents.
- Gratitude Soup by Olivia Rosewood, grades k – 3. Perfect for teaching children about gratitude with fun and play, this rhyming, colorful picture book combines collage and watercolors as Violet the Purple Fairy tells her own story of cooking with gratitude.
- The Blue Daisy: A Lesson in Gratitude by Stacie Theis, grades k – 2. Filled with bright, colorful illustrations, The Blue Daisy delivers a simple message about gratitude and appreciation for what one has.
- Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland, grades preschool – 4. Written as a celebration of family, friends, and the Thanksgiving holiday, this book encourages children to reflect on what they’re most thankful for during the holidays.
- Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, grades preschool – 3. In this playful and imaginative tale of family and friendship, young children will receive a great lesson on sharing and gratitude.
- Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood, grades preschool – 3. This inspirational book teaches children about reflection and the importance of gratitude.
What are some ways that you teach your children about gratitude?
Columbus Day is Monday, October 14! Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America are monumental in our country’s history. If you plan to honor the holiday, here are five ways to celebrate Columbus Day in your class or extended learning program. Go beyond the familiar line, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” and teach students about Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World in fun, exciting and yummy ways!
- Watch the Columbus Day movie on BrainPOP Jr. to introduce students to Christopher Columbus and to tell the story of his voyage to the New World.
- Have story time! My First Biography: Christoper Columbus helps younger students understand the story of Columbus and offers a positive message of perseverance. Also, check out Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus which contains engaging, artful pictures and true-to-history text that tells the story of Columbus’ journey.
- Make these veggie boats from the Oh Happy Day blog to represent the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Gather a variety of vegetables, spreads and toothpicks to assemble the boats and make tasty snacks!
- Get students’ creative juices flowing with the Columbus Day Writing Craftivity from Teachers Pay Teachers. This free download will turn students into explorers as they write about what would have happened if they discovered America.
- Telescopes are great tools for exploration! Make the telescopes from recycled household items like cardboard tubes and paper cups.
Find more ways to celebrate Columbus Day on our Pinterest page!
How are you celebrating Columbus Day in your classroom or extended learning program?
National Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long celebration that begins September 15 and ends October 15. It’s a great time to educate students on Hispanic and Latin American heritage, and to celebrate their contributions to the American culture! From their cultural music to the conquest of Mexico, there are endless activities for students to explore Hispanic and Latin American culture.
Here are 5 ways to kick start the celebration:
- Play A Different Drum to learn about the percussion instruments that Spanish-speaking immigrants of the Caribbean brought to the United States. Listen to the sound of each instrument and then match each instrument with the correct label. It’s also a great vocabulary lesson!
- Take it a step further and make your own maracas! Gather empty toilet paper rolls, uncooked rice, masking tape, crayons and stickers. Cover one end of the toilet paper roll with masking tape. Then, pour the uncooked rice into the toilet paper roll and tape the other end. Finally, decorate the maracas with crayons and stickers. Listen to the Spanish Greeting Song and “shake-shake-shake” your maracas!
- Discover the Conquest of Mexico with paintings from the seventeenth century! The eight paintings illustrate the battles between the Spanish and the Aztecs and other historical moments of the 1521 Spanish conquest of the native Aztec people. The beautiful artistry provides insight on the events leading up to the Conquest of Tenochtitlán (modern-day Mexico City). Challenge students to recreate their favorite paintings!
- Discover Repujado and make Mexican cuff bracelets! Repujado is the Mexican Metal Tooling Art technique which uses a rounded tool on the back side of soft metal to create a beautiful piece of raised art.
- Columbus Day, or the Día de la Raza, is on October 12, so celebrate by exploring Christopher Columbus’ voyage from Spain to America! Students can draw a map of Columbus’ voyage and create replicas of his three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Click here to see how it’s done!
How are you celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month?
Image sources: Library of Congress, Google image search
September 11 is Patriot Day! This day commemorates the lives that were lost and the heroes who risked their lives saving others during the 9/11 attacks. The topic may be touchy for young students, but educators can celebrate Patriot Day with activities that are age-appropriate and that focus on patriotism.
Here are a few Patriot Day activities and ideas:
Read a book. For a detailed account of the 9/11 tragedy, read America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell, which uses sensitive language and watercolor illustrations to narrate the events of the day. The book touches on everything from the hijacking of the planes to the collapse of the buildings. For a story of courage and bravery, read The Little Chapel That Stood about the historic chapel less than 100 miles from the Twin Towers that remained standing after the attacks.
Watch the BrainPOP video explaining terrorism and recounting the events of September 11, 2001. The video is animated and a great discussion starter.
Visit the National Counterterrorism Center Kids Zone for games and activities, educational resources and a coloring book.
Make an American flag. Trace a flag outline on a piece of white construction paper. Have students tear pieces of red, white and blue paper, and glue them down to form the stripes and blue area of the flag. Use white star stickers to represent the stars on the US flag.
Honor a hero. Discuss patriotism and have students write thank-you notes to heroes in the community, such as police officers, firefighters, nurses, etc.
Sing patriotic songs. Teach students the lyrics to “You’re a Grand Old Flag” or “This Land Is Your Land” and sing the song together.
For more Patriot Day ideas and activities, visit our Pinterest board “Patriot Day Activities.”
Image sources: betterworldbooks.com, kiwicrate.com