What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.
It's Independence Day! Or is it?
|Grades||3 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Historical Figure & Event|
Many people celebrate the Fourth of July as the birthday of the United States, but the actual events on that day involved only a half dozen people. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed by the officers of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Most of the other members signed during a ceremony on August 2.
Is the Fourth of July the day the U.S. declared its independence? Explore all the dates during the summer of 1776 that are associated with the Declaration of Independence:
- July 2: Declaration of Independence Resolution adopted by the Continental Congress
- July 4: Declaration of Independence signed by the officers of the Continental Congress
- July 8: First public reading of the Declaration of Independence
- August 2: Declaration of Independence signed by 50 of the 56 men who signed the document
Explore texts that include the stories surrounding the Declaration of Independence. Possibilities include reference books, encyclopedias, and specific texts, examples of which appear in the Independence Day Book List. With your students, consider why there are so many different dates and why we celebrate the nation's birthday on July 4.
- The Charters of Freedom: The Declaration of Independence
This page features the Declaration of Independence along with information about its writing and preservation, a timeline of its creation, and information on the signers.
- Liberty: Independence!
As on online companion to the television series Liberty! The American Revolution, originally broadcast on PBS, this webpage focuses on the events of July 4, 1776. Be sure to explore the site for lesser-known facts. For instance, did you know that Congress designated a woman as the first official printer of the Declaration?
- The Liberty Bell
On July 8, 1776, the Liberty Bell was rung in Philadelphia to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. This National Park Service site includes facts about the Liberty Bell and its historic significance during the American Revolution.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
By exploring myths and truths surrounding Independence Day, students think critically about commonly believed stories regarding the beginning of the Revolutionary War and the Independence Day holiday.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Students across the board will get a kick out of researching a historical figure from the American Revolution to create an acrostic poem.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
This lesson has students explore freedom of speech by examining the Pledge of Allegiance from a historical and personal perspective and in relationship to fictional situations in novels.
Grades 6 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
After researching famous people of the American Revolution, students create Facebook-like PowerPoint presentations to share their knowledge with classmates.
Grades 5 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
After researching famous people of the American Revolution, students take on the identities of these Patriots and Loyalists. Students then participate in a blog, writing responses about events leading up to and during the American Revolutionary War.