Labor Day provides a unique opportunity for teachers to integrate meaningful and engaging lessons into their curriculum. By incorporating themed activities into your instruction, you can promote historical understanding, community involvement, and cross-curricular learning. In this blog post, we’ll explore a variety of creative ways to seamlessly incorporate the holiday into your teaching plan that won’t interrupt your day-to-day instruction. From read-alouds to writing activities, math challenges, art projects, and community engagement activities, discover how to make the most of this important holiday in your classroom.
Read Alouds for Labor Day
Firstly, I will always encourage incorporating your current teaching topic into your read-alouds. It is a great way to encourage engagement, learn more about a specific topic, and of course, introduce reading skills.
You can introduce students to the history of Labor Day by using a read-aloud. Discuss the significance of the labor movement and the reasons behind the establishment of this holiday. This can provide a foundation for understanding the importance of workers’ rights and the contributions of unions.
Engage your students with captivating stories that shed light on the history and significance of the holiday. These stories can provide context and evoke discussions about workers’ rights, the labor movement, and the contributions of various professions. Consider books like “Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909” by Michelle Markel and “A Day’s Work” by Eve Bunting.
Books to Use During Your Labor Day Unit: (Amazon Affiliate Links)
- Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909
- She Persisted: Clara Lemlich
- A Day’s Work
- Who Started the Labor Day Celebration?
- A Labor Day Hooray
- Labor Day (National Holidays)
- Labor Day (First Step Nonfiction-National Holidays)
- Labor Day Read Alouds
Secondly, your students can simultaneously practice important reading and writing skills while focusing on Labor Day-related content. Provide them with articles, short biographies, or texts that explore the holiday’s origins and evolution. Students can write about their learning in a variety of ways, too!
- Have students read about different jobs/careers in your community.
- Have students complete a Labor Day Reading and Writing Flip Book (seen in the photo above) or Community Helpers Flip Book.
- Conduct a close reading of a reading passage about the history of Labor Day.
- Organize a jigsaw activity where students become experts on different aspects of Labor Day history OR different forms of labor/ types of community helpers.
- Integrate reading and writing with printable activities that allow students to learn about their community (Communities No-Prep Unit seen in the photo above).
- Write thank you letters to workers in different fields.
- Assign a research-based writing activity on notable figures in the labor movement.
- Initiate journaling activities where students reflect on the importance of various professions.
- Have students write a reflective journal entry about their thoughts & feelings about the holiday.
- Students can write an informative essay on a chosen career field/job in the community.
- Have students write persuasive letters advocating for fair labor practices.
- Encourage students to work in small groups to create informative displays about the holiday. These displays can include facts about the holiday’s origin, its evolution, and the ways people celebrate it.
Labor Day Through the Arts
Additionally, you can engage students in an art project that allows them to express their understanding of Labor Day visually. Tap into your students’ creativity by incorporating art projects that celebrate the labor force. Provide opportunities for them to create posters, collages, or multimedia presentations that honor workers from various fields. Encourage artistic expression while reinforcing the importance of Labor Day. And, of course, display these artworks in the classroom or around the school to celebrate the occasion.
Art Activities for Labor Day:
- Design a collaborative mural that showcases the diversity of professions.
- Have students create visual representations of their dream jobs and how those roles contribute to society.
- Incorporate technology by having students design digital posters with messages related to labor rights.
- Students can write songs or poems that express their gratitude to workers.
- Encourage multimedia use by having students create short videos or multimedia presentations about labor day!
Extend the impact of your Labor Day instruction beyond the classroom by involving the community. Turn Labor Day into an opportunity for community engagement by organizing a small project. This could involve students creating thank-you cards or small tokens of appreciation for essential workers in the community, such as local firefighters, police officers, or healthcare professionals. This activity not only reinforces the holiday’s message but also instills empathy and kindness in students.
Ideas for Community Engagement:
- Host a career day by inviting guest speakers from various professions to share their experiences and answer students’ questions.
- Organize a visit to a local workplace, such as a fire station or hospital, to observe the contributions of essential workers.
- Engage in a service project that allows students to express gratitude to community members who contribute to society.
Integrating Labor Day into your instruction goes beyond a one-day celebration—it’s an opportunity to foster a deeper understanding of history, values, and the importance of the workforce. By incorporating these activities, you can create a multifaceted learning experience that resonates with your students while promoting critical thinking, creativity, and community engagement. Through these efforts, you’re not only teaching about Labor Day but also empowering your students to appreciate the significance of labor in shaping our society.
Resources that Are Ready to Go
If you’re looking for other activities to go with your Labor Day read alouds, these three resources are perfect for you! With both digital and printable options, the Labor Day and Community Helpers flip books are easy additions to your lesson plans. They combine reading and writing activities with a craft, so kiddos love them, too! The No Prep Social Studies Unit has everything you need to teach your students about communities!