One of the pre-assessments I like to use is a short multiple-choice quiz that I administer at the beginning of class to see what students already know. The quiz includes questions about the date of the holiday, why it is celebrated or observed, and how it came to be. I find the quiz to be a good starting point for discussion as well, and often, students come away with new knowledge (and hopefully respect) for those being honored.
|Memorial Day Quiz|
We also spend time discussing different ways that students can observe the holidays in simple, yet meaningful ways. For example, on Memorial Day, they can go attend a parade in which veterans take part; visit a local cemetery and the graves of veterans; or thank a veteran in their family or one who is a friend.
Getting students to make personal connections between the past and the present through lessons like these is so important to effectively teaching social studies. It also helps to answer the question so many social studies teachers get from students, "Why do I have to know this?"
To download these free pre-assessment quizzes I use for Veterans' Day, Presidents' Day, and Memorial Day, click here.