The Pledge of Allegiance

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Lesson At A Glance

The students will understand the significance of the United States National Flag as a symbol of our country.  Through this lesson, the students will learn that saying the Pledge of Allegiance is a way to honor our flag, country, and united citizenship.  It is a way we show respect to the great country in which we live.

Prior to the lesson, students have been introduced to the word symbols and what it means.  Students were able to make observations of symbols, ask questions, and make predictions.


  • Students will have a deeper understanding of the Pledge of Allegiance and why it is recited each morning in class and at public/government events.
  • Students will recognize American symbols and be able to explain their significance to our country.


Standards addressed:

History Social Science

1.3 Students know and understand the symbols, icons, and traditions of the United States that provide continuity and a sense of community across time.

  1. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing songs that express American ideals (e.g., "America").
  2. Understand the significance of our national holidays and the heroism and achievements of the people associated with them.
  3. Identify American symbols, landmarks, and essential documents, such as the flag, bald eagle, Statue of Liberty, U.S. Constitution, and Declaration of Independence, and know the people and events associated with them.

Common Core State Standards for ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects K-5

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading K-5

Key Ideas and Details

1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Craft and Structure

3. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing K-5

Text Types and Purposes

2.  Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Big Ideas:

  • The American flag is an important symbol of our country. (The flag of the United States of America has colors and shapes that stand for things.  The flag can change over time as our country changes.  There are many ways we show respect to our flag.)
  • The Pledge of Allegiance has important significance.  (A pledge is a kind of promise; it is a tradition in our country, and a way we honor the United States.)
    Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance shows respect for our country.  (We say the Pledge of Allegiance at school (and other places) to show respect for our flag and our country.
  • E Pluribus Unum (Out of many colonies/states, we emerge as a single nation that cannot be broken)

Essential Questions/Issues:

1. What does it mean to be an American citizen?
2. Is citizenship a right or a responsibility?
3. How do symbols, icons, and traditions play a role in our country?

Higher Order Thinking Questions:

  • Analysis: Explain what the pledge means to you.
  • Synthesis:  Create a personal pledge to yourself.  Design a symbol that represents your pledge.
  • Evaluation:  Choose a phrase from the Pledge of Allegiance.  Why is it your favorite phrase?



Students will be evaluated through multiple forms of assessment: teacher observations, writing, class participation, and formal assessments.

Students will create a learning log where they will have the opportunity to tell me what they have learned about the United States National Flag, ask questions, and make predictions.

Students will write about what the pledge means to them and they will make a personal pledge to themselves.

Students will choose their favorite phrase in the pledge of allegiance and explain why it is their favorite phrase.

Students will create a symbol that represents their personal pledge.

Students will create a classroom flag with all of their symbols combined on the flag.

Students will create a classroom pledge that will be recited with the pledge of allegiance each morning. 

Students will conduct an oral history project where they will interview a parent or family member about their knowledge of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Quality Criteria:

  • Learning Log
  • Personal Pledge:  
  • Classroom Flag:  Everyone participated by contributing their personal symbol that reflects their personal pledge.  No rubric necessary.  
  • Classroom Pledge: Everyone participated in discussion and brainstormed some common themes from our personal pledge to create our classroom pledge.
  • Oral History Project:  Students generated questions to interview a parent and a third grader.  Everyone participated in gathering interview information so we can compare and contrast the interview data by graphing the results.
  • Interactive Journals:  Students write to the teacher about their favorite part of the pledge and why it is meaningful to them.  Teacher writes each of them back.


Click here to download the assessment tools

Activity Steps:

Click here to download activity steps

Oral History Project (Student generated questions)

  1. Can you recite the pledge of allegiance?
  2. What is the pledge of allegiance a symbol of?
  3. What does the pledge of allegiance mean?
  4. What does the phrase, “justice for all” mean?
  5. What does the word, “indivisible” mean?

Activity Steps:

– Hook: What does “symbols” mean?  Heads together as a team to make predictions.  Observation Charts.  Inquiry Chart.  Motivational Big Book.  American Symbols Chant.

– American Flag Pictorial:
Teacher draws an American flag while talking about the location, description, what it represents, how we honor it, and some interesting facts about it.  Teacher uses pictures to show examples of each category.  For every 10 minutes the teacher gives information, students get two minutes to review with the person sitting next to them what they just learned.  The pictorial is reviewed the next day with vocabulary cards and a chant to follow up. 

– Learning Log: 
Students write two-three sentences about their learning of the American flag.  On the “text” side, they can write facts they learned.  On the “you” side, students should make a personal connection.  Pictures and words should be used in the learning log to show what the child has learned.

– The Pledge of Allegiance: 
Recite the pledge of allegiance together as a class and highlight high-level vocabulary words that students want to know the meaning of.  The next day, recite the pledge again and go over the meaning of the highlighted vocabulary words using words and pictures to help explain.  Explain the meaning of the pledge together as a class. 

– Learning Log: 
Students write two-three sentences about their learning of the pledge and what it means to them.  On the other side, students are going to make a pledge to themselves about something they want to accomplish or a goal they have set.  They will create a symbol that represents their pledge to themselves.

– Interactive Journals: 
What is your favorite phrase from the pledge of allegiance and why?

– Classroom Flag: 
The symbols that students made for their personal pledge will be put together to make a classroom flag.

– Classroom Pledge:
  After creating the classroom flag, we will put together a pledge that resembles our common goals in class and we will recite the classroom pledge each morning with the regular pledge of allegiance.

– Oral History Project:
  Students will brainstorm questions that they think are good questions for adults and students to know.  We will select four or five questions and they will be asked to interview a family member and a second grader.  We will compare and contrast the results and graph our answers.

Special Needs of students are considered in this lesson: 
This lesson, and unit, is based on the strategies and theories of Project GLAD.  It easily lends itself for everyone to participate on different levels because the unit is based on a language acquisition design model but is also created to teach to the highest kids in the class.   There are many opportunities for flexible grouping where students are able to work with heterogeneous groups and are pulled for guided instruction as well.  The model is designed for everyone to support each other so students with different learning styles and special needs can rely on their classmates to support their learning.  There is a lot of active participation, chants, movements, team work, and opportunities for individual writing.  There is not really a need for specific modifications because each strategy is created so each child can work at their ability level. 

Extension Ideas:

  • Learn about other countries flags and what they stand for. Do they have a pledge?
  • Research Table: Research American symbols.
  • Role Play: What the pledge of allegiance means through song or dance.

Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Butcher paper
  • Construction paper
  • Realistic pictures
  • Markers
  • Teacher made big books
  • Student portfolios with learning logs
  • Interactive journals
  • Poetry journals


  • Project GLAD

Unit at a Glance

This unit is designed to focus on the 1st grade standards in History/Social Science.  The students will learn about American Symbols, Heroes, and Holidays that have influenced the contemporary world and help unite our country to form a common heritage.  Students will begin to understand the broad concepts of rights and responsibilities and their role by which they must live.

Standards Addressed in this unit:

History Social Science

1.1 Students describe the rights and individual responsibilities of citizenship.

  1. Understand the rule-making process in a direct democracy (everyone votes on the rules) and in a representative democracy (an elected group of people makes the rules), giving examples of both systems in their classroom, school, and community.
  2. Understand the elements of fair play and good sportsmanship, respect for the rights and opinions of others, and respect for rules by which we live, including the meaning of the "Golden Rule."

1.2 Students compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations of places and people and describe the physical and/ or human characteristics of places.

  1. Locate on maps and globes their local community, California, the United States, the seven continents, and the four oceans.
  2. Compare the information that can be derived from a three-dimensional model to the information that can be derived from a picture of the same location.
  3. Construct a simple map, using cardinal directions and map symbols.
  4. Describe how location, weather, and physical environment affect the way people live, including the effects on their food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and recreation.

1.3 Students know and understand the symbols, icons, and traditions of the United States that provide continuity and a sense of community across time.

  1. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing songs that express American ideals (e.g., "America").
  2. Understand the significance of our national holidays and the heroism and achievements of the people associated with them.
  3. Identify American symbols, landmarks, and essential documents, such as the flag, bald eagle, Statue of Liberty, U.S. Constitution, and Declaration of Independence, and know the people and events associated with them.

1.4 Students compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time while others stay the same.

  1. Examine the structure of schools and communities in the past.
  2. Study transportation methods of earlier days.
  3. Recognize similarities and differences of earlier generations in such areas as work (inside and outside the home), dress, manners, stories, games, and festivals,
  4. drawing from biographies, oral histories, and folklore.

1.5  Students describe the human characteristics of familiar places and the varied backgrounds of American citizens and residents in those places.

  1. Recognize the ways in which they are all part of the same community, sharing principles, goals, and traditions despite their varied ancestry; the forms of diversity in their school and community; and the benefits and challenges of a diverse population.
  2. Understand the ways in which American Indians and immigrants have helped define Californian and American culture.
  3. Compare the beliefs, customs, ceremonies, traditions, and social practices of the varied cultures, drawing from folklore.

English Language Arts

1.0 Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development: Students understand the basic features of reading. They select letter patterns and know how to translate them into spoken language by using phonics, syllabication, and word parts. They apply this knowledge to achieve fluent oral and silent reading.

Concepts About Print
1.1 Match oral words to printed words.
1.2 Identify the title and author of a reading selection.
1.3 Identify letters, words, and sentences.

1.0 Writing Strategies: Students write clear and coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing shows they consider the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process (e.g., prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing successive versions).

Organization and Focus
1.    Select a focus when writing.
2.   Use descriptive words when writing.

3.   Print legibly and space letters, words, and sentences appropriately.

2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics): Students write compositions that describe and explain familiar objects, events, and experiences. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the drafting, research, and organizational strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.

  1. Write brief expository descriptions of a real object, person, place, or event, using sensory details.

1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions: Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions appropriate to this grade level.

Sentence Structure
1.1 Write and speak in complete, coherent sentences.

1.2 Identify and correctly use singular and plural nouns.
1.3 Identify and correctly use contractions (e.g., isn’t, aren’t, can’t, won’t) and singular possessive pronouns (e.g., my/mine, his/her, hers, your/s) in writing and speaking.

1.4 Distinguish between declarative, exclamatory, and interrogative sentences.
1.5 Use a period, exclamation point, or question mark at the end of sentences.
1.6 Use knowledge of the basic rules of punctuation and capitalization when writing.

1.7 Capitalize the first word of a sentence, names of people, and the pronoun I.

1.8 Spell three- and four-letter short-vowel words and grade-level-appropriate sight words correctly.

1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies Students listen critically and respond appropriately to oral communication. They speak in a manner that guides the listener to understand important ideas by using proper phrasing, pitch, and modulation.

1.1 Listen attentively.
1.2 Ask questions for clarification and understanding.
1.3 Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions. Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication
1.4 Stay on the topic when speaking.
1.5 Use descriptive words when speaking about people, places, things, and events.

2.0 Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics) Students deliver brief recitations and oral presentations about familiar experiences or interests that are organized around a coherent thesis statement. Student speaking demonstrates a command of standard American English and the organizational and delivery strategies outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard
Using the speaking strategies of grade one outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard
1.0 students:
2.1 Recite poems, rhymes, songs, and stories.
2.2 Retell stories using basic story grammar and relating the sequence of story events by answering who, what, when, where, why, and how questions.
2.3 Relate an important life event or personal experience in a simple sequence.