My dear teacher friends,

You are seriously going to want to show this video, Flying Over America.  Do it for you, do it for the children, do it for the tremendous discussions and learning that can happen around a wonderfully creative video like this.  Do it for America, really!

An animated biplane takes viewers all across America – flying over some of our most stunning and notable landmarks – in under six minutes.  It’s set to music.  It’s breathtaking.  It’s so cleverly done, and it’s under six minutes!

There are so many opportunities for truly phenomenal lesson planning that can happen around a clever video like

But teachers, I encourage you to turn this into a much bigger lesson than just six minutes.  Flying Over America is pretty powerful.

There are so many opportunities for truly phenomenal lesson planning that can happen around a clever video like Flying Over America, and here are just a few ideas:

  • Why not show it now, near the beginning of the year, and see how many of the landmarks and places your students can name?  Pause the video often for discussion and sharing.  It will be fun to see how much your students know individually and collectively. Record responses.  Definitely show it again at the end of the year, and see how much more your students have learned about our amazing America!
  • Assign any or all of the landmarks as research projects.  Encourage brainstorming of more places!
  • Have students practice letter writing skills to write away to these places to receive literature from state parks, landmarks, etc.  I have had students as young as 2nd grade do these kinds of writing projects.
  • Do Skype or any kind of pen-pal project with students from any of these locations.
  • This is my favorite:  Get students to suggest places that weren’t shown and write about/blog about/create videos about why they should have been included!  (This is great Common Core stuff – evaluating bias!)
  • Post a big ol’ map on your classroom wall and start putting location tacks in it.  So much fun and a lot of opportunity as the year goes on.  Let students celebrate their own travel experiences!
  • Post this Fly Over America video on your website, teacher page, or blog and ask students to independently try to find all the places they weren’t able to name – as a challenge
  • Create your own version of Flying Over America – maybe just a photo slideshow, but what a powerful way to celebrate travel, places your students have been, the stories of your families, and America!
  • Start a wiki with a page for each location and let students add to pages as they learn things throughout the year.

In elementary school, especially in ‘Social Studies’, we are tasked with teaching students about their own neighborhoods, communities, states, country, and continent.  This six minute video can become SUCH a huge part of our year-long, or years-long lesson plan for learning and knowing more about this phenomenal country and inspiring pride in our United States of America!

Please, you know I always ask for collaboration and contributions.  If you have any ideas for using this video that you’d like to share, please do so on this blog, at My Primary Techspiration on Facebook or @kerszi on Twitter.  Thanks!