Your Journey Through U.S. History Starts Here!

Unit #101: VFW Patriot's Pen Writing Contest
Learning Target: I can COMPOSE a well written essay that includes a claim and evidence to support my claim.

Please complete the steps below to prepare for this assignment:

 Follow the directions below to compose your well written essay. 

Essay Activity:

Assignments to Complete:

 Part #1: Understanding the Contest and the Assignment

1.  What is the 2018 VFW Patriot's Pen Contest?

2.  You will be composing a well RESEARCHED and well WRITTEN essay addressing the following prompt: "Why I Honor The American Flag"


3.  Tips for writing a successful essay:

     ***Topic or Prompt: Each year the prompt is different but centers around a patriotic theme. This fall, the prompt will be "Why I Honor The American Flag"  

  You will want to include a personal connection or personal touch to the prompt.  In other words students should write about a personal experience that directly relates to what the American Flag means to you and what emotions it evokes when you see it.  Ask yourself what does it symbolize and why are those things important to you?

For example, my grandfather fought under the American Flag in World War II in order to defend freedom and democracy from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.  His years of service and sacrifice ensured that my generation would still enjoy all of the freedoms and opportunities the American flag has come to symbolize.  

Check out some of the essays that have won in the past to get a better idea of what your final product will look like: Winning essay 


***What you should include:

      1.  A Theme: You must show research (evidence) and show knowledge of the theme (Why I Honor the American Flag). Doing research in the next part of this assignment will help    you. 

      2.  Development: You must develop the theme in their essay by answering the five Ws Who, What, Where, When, and Why. 

      3.  Clarity: You must write clearly in an "easy-to-understand" voice that shows they understand the theme.

      4.  Length: Your essay will be 300-400 words.


 Part #2: Research and Prewriting

  1.  Spend some time researching what does the American Flag represent for you and how does it relate to your life.  Think about all of the freedoms and opportunities you have in your
     life today.  Consider how those freedoms and opportunities were gained and protected by those who came before us.  Explore the history of the American Flag and what ideas it    

2.  Create a google document in your Chromebook.  Be sure to save save save the file to your google folder.

3.  Make a list of ideas the American flag represents and means to you. Next to each idea list something in your own life that relates to that idea.  See the example below.  You may  
     want to create a prewriting chart.

      For some ideas, use the sites below to help you research.  You can also conduct your own search. 

    12 Great Things to Love About America  | 27 Little Freedoms | America is Great Site  |  100 Great Things About America  |  Meet the Flag Website

What idea does the American Flag symbolize to me? How does it effect me personally
(Tell your Personal story)
Where did it come from? ( Research the topic to find supporting details)

 The American Flag symbolizes the idea of "equality."
From the birth of our country, the United States has worked toward the idea that everyone in society is equal.  While our nation has not always lived up to that standard, no matter your race, religion, or economic status the American flag unites all Americans under the idea that we are all equal and entitled to the same freedoms and liberties. 

While I am not super wealthy, in America I am entitled to the same rights and privileges as someone who is wealthy.  I also respect the rights of other to have different ideas.  The flag reminds me that even if someone comes from a different background, we are all united under and equal under the flag.  I can vividly remember after the 9-11 attacks how all Americans rallied under the flag and that no matter their background the flag united every American.

In many nations people from different backgrounds, religions, and ideas are not treated equally.  Many countries outlaw freedoms and persecute groups of people.  America has always fought under the flag for the rights of all people to enjoy freedoms, liberties, and equalities.  We we say the pledge of allegiance we say with "liberty and justice for all!" 


4.  Now that you have identified Why you honor the flag, take some time to research as much information as possible about the symbolism of the flag to use in your essay.  Make a list
     of supporting details.  These can be used in your essay.

I am the American Flag! 

- The flag was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.
- There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.
- My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.
- Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.
- My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.
- My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.
- My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.
- My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.
- I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.
- I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.
- I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers - the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.
- I am as old as my nation.
- I am a living symbol of my nation's law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
- I voice Abraham Lincoln's philosophy: "A government of the people, by the people,for the people."
- I stand guard over my nation's schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.
- I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.
- Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.
- I have my own law—Public Law 829, "The Flag Code" - which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.
- I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.
- Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.
- I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.
- If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.
- Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.
- As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are - no more, no less.
- Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.
- Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
- I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.
- I may spend eternity in my "land of the free and the home of the brave" and that I shall ever be known as "Old Glory," the flag of the United States of America.

     5.  Now tell your story!  Why do you honor the American flag?

Notes for Your Story . . . .
     - Tell your story and how this gift effects you and your generation. . . . . . . .


 Part #3: Drafting, Proofing, and Writing

1.  Now that you have done your research and prewriting, its time to use that information to write your WINNING essay!

2.  Use a definitive statement to begin your essay.  See the example below:

I honor the American Flag because ________________________________. 

3.  Next, write several well written sentences using the notes you took about the topic above.

4.  Now, write several more sentences using the information you noted above about your personal connection to the gift. 

5.  Write a conclusion restating your definitive statement.
6.  When you are finished, find a friend to proof read your essay.  Be sure to check for spelling and grammar.

7.  Copy and paste your final proof read essay into the box on the google form.  Please let Mr. G know if you would like to enter the VFW contest!

     Turn in your Patriot's Pen here!








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