Today, many schools are already in session before the Labor Day Holiday. Students look forward to Labor Day as their first long weekend of the year, an official ending of summer, or even as the beginning of the football season. This signifies the end of breaks and that school is back in session for a long stretch, without breaks. However, many students don’t know the origin or meaning of Labor Day. This week, it would be great to include a lesson on Labor Day, sharing the history and original meaning of the holiday. There are many craft ideas, projects, and historical lessons explaining and importance of Labor Day.
Adaptations for the activities below for special need students would include providing reading material at the student’s lexile level, providing assistance for project activities like cutting, pasting, drawing, or providing direct instruction or easy to follow instructions. For inclusion classrooms, pairing a helpful student with the student with special needs can help both students to be more successful with the activity.
Reading Passages & Articles about Labor Day
Education World has created an annotated list of educational Labor Day resources. The site also contains a short explanation of the history behind Labor Day. The first link they provide has a short article about unions, teamsters, the government involvement in labor legislation, and the American workers. This article can be printed out and used for a guided reading activity in class. The article is written for children, which makes it easier to understand than some sites written for adults, like Wikipedia. The fourth resource provided on the list is more for high school students. It provides a series of lessons about freedom, political struggles, strikes, legal rights of laborers, unions, and women entering into the workforce. The 6th resource provides information and photographs about child labor. This would be a resource where each child could receive one picture and write a story behind the photo.
Activities & Projects about Labor Day
The Labor Day activities on the Apples 4 the Teacher site include reading and writing lessons, but also fun hands on activities to learn more about Labor Day. This includes coloring sheets, word searches, worksheets, and other printables.
Enchanted Learning has a page full of fun-filled Labor Day activities. Crafts include a labor collage, building a town out of recycled materials including paper towel rolls and tissue boxes, printable activity books, puzzles, vocabulary worksheets, alphabet games, and coloring pages.
Incorporating Technology with Labor Day Activities
Other activities that students could complete about Labor Day while infusing technology into your classroom include:
- Watch a YouTube clip from the History Chanel about Labor Day and having students write a blog post or short response using a word processing program. You could then upload their papers to Wordle and visually see the important facts and main ideas in a visual representation.
- Have the students use Art Pad to create a before and after drawings of what they through Labor Day was before they read the page on Wikipedia on Labor Day and then again after.
- Create short video clips about Labor Day using Flip Cameras, edit them on Movie Maker (comes free with Windows), and then upload their videos to Teacher Tube to share will other classrooms.
- Have the students play one of the popular online games that involve labor related activities, like Diner Dash, Lemonade Stand, Nanny Mania, or Fish Tycoon. After they play, and advance to more difficult levels, you can discuss multi-tasking, taking breaks, and how challenging that job may be in real life – and how all workers deserve a day of rest. Link to Games
Article By: Laura Ketcham
Picture By: Robert Couse-Baker