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What Is Patriotism?

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School History, Language Arts

Students will:
• Define and identify examples of patriotism.

Medal of Honor Focus:
John Finn, Aviation Ordnance Chief, U.S. Navy (World War II)
Joseph Rodriguez, Corporal, U.S. Army, Co. 1, 8th Cavalry Regiment,1st Cavalry Division (Korea)

Introductory Activity:
The teacher will create a graphic organizer on the board using the following categories: word, definition,
examples (e.g. voting), antonyms (e.g. not voting). A lined paper can be folded into four sections and
labeled accordingly. The teacher will place the word "patriotism" as the word to define in the upper left
hand corner in the graphic and guide students to complete the rest of the graphic organizer with a
definition of the word, examples of the word, and non-examples of the word.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will view the vignettes of John Finn or Joseph Rodriguez. The students will record examples
of patriotism as they watch the vignettes.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Place students in small groups to compare examples. They will look at each example from John Finn
and Joseph Rodriguez and discuss the choices each man made.

Whole Group Activity:
The teacher will lead a discussion based on why John Finn and Joseph Rodriguez acted as they did.
The teacher will also ask students for current day actions of patriotism, e.g. voting, volunteering.

Concluding Activity:
Students will be asked to re-define the word "patriotism" on a note card, and give one example from
a Medal of Honor recipient and one action they have seen in their lives.

Graphic organizers, discussion, definition

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. NY: Artisan, 2006.
Graphic organizer (can be pre-printed and photocopied for faster student use – see Lesson A5 for an example)

Extended Activity:
Students can research the Pledge of Allegiance and use a thesaurus to more deeply define the words. The
students can then write a short essay on how Medal of Honor recipients John Finn and Joseph Rodriguez
exemplified the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance.

In Their Own Words - John Finn

In Their Own Words - Joseph Rodriguez