AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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All Grades

  • Encourage your students to enter the Valentine’s Day Card contest.
  • Ask your students to recommend a book, poem, lyric, movie, painting, etc. that they feel illustrates loyalty and explain why they recommended it.
  • Have students keep a journal to reflect on what they think loyalty is, what they learned about loyalty in their class and whether their original thinking changed and in what way.
  • Profile those who give back. After learning about loyalty, have students work in small groups or independently to nominate someone that they believe is loyal and share their story with the class.
  • Partner different classes where older students can mentor younger students. Older students will have an opportunity to model the values and behaviors they've learned and younger students will have an opportunity to experience the values firsthand.

Early Elementary School

  • Introduce students to the concept of loyalty to one's country (patriotism) through songs and poems. Play the song America and ask students what the song means.
  • Introduce students to key historical figures or heroes who worked to improve the lives of those living in poverty or who didn’t have the same opportunities as others (Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Abraham Lincoln). Have students think about heroes they know and why they are a hero.
  • Introduce students to cultural differences by having students talk about their family and family traditions. What are some of the various family configurations represented in the class/school? How do they celebrate the same holidays? What other holidays do they celebrate?

Late Elementary to Middle School

  • Have students look for unsung or lesser-known heroes (historical and contemporary) who helped better lives of others. Students will share their hero and why they selected him/her.
  • Using a free online, secure e-mail system such as, have students partner with another classroom from a different part of the country. Have students research the city/state of the class they will be partnering with, e-mail each other about what is similar and different about where they live. Each week introduce a new question: city living versus farm living; hot weather versus cold; what they do on weekends; what they are studying in school; etc.

Middle to High School

  • Read the excerpt from To Serve with Honor and have students reflect on the reading in their journals. Ask students: Why are the two distinctions (hochverrat and landesverrat) important? Should people in general follow a similar code? Why or why not?
  • Introduce students to key events and activists who have fought to improve living conditions across the country. Events/activists could include: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, the role of labor unions.

High School

  • Assign students the excerpt from "Crito," which examines loyalty to one’s country. Divide the class into two groups. The groups will debate whether Socrates did the right thing by staying in Athens and not fleeing.