To teach American symbols, I have always used PowerPoint Presentations, textbooks, and picture books. My first graders had to basically memorize and recall the symbols. This year I decided to do things differently. I made American Symbol cards and had each student pull a card out of a hat. Students had to use books and the internet to find information about their American symbol. Next, they had to write about their symbol. Students helped each other edit their writings before the final drafts were completed. Then, the students created an illustration for their symbol. Finally, I recorded the students reading their writings and took a picture of their illustrations. I loaded the audio and image files to MovieMaker to create a video (above). The students were so excited to see their work on Youtube.com. Throughout the process, I kept reminding them that "the whole world" would be able to see their work. They really took pride in this project.
As a side note, the students' writing and illustration were put together to make a classroom book for the reading center.
To get the American Symbol cards, click this link: American Symbol Cards