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Enchanted Learning: National Symbols

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, word processing and presentation software

Activity Description

Intermediate and advanced students or students in Citizenship classes learn about national symbols of the United States through jigsaw reading and follow up by writing a paragraph and/or making an oral presentation about national symbols of their native countries (or state/city symbols if the class is relatively homogeneous).


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school. If it is, you may choose to print pages about select United States symbols.
  2. Download the National Symbols Assignment file (Example Document, above). Modify it and resave if you plan to use it as a prompt for the follow-up activities (paragraph and oral presentation). Print and photocopy for students, as desired.
  3. Download the Symbols PowerPoint file (Example Document, above). Add images for the city/town where your school is located and re-save the file. The file also contains a sample slideshow for an oral presentation on National Symbols.
  4. Decide whether you will use a follow-up activity (paragraph or presentation) and prepare (a) model(s) for students to follow.
  5. Prepare questions and/or a note-taking form to focus students’ reading in the jigsaw reading activity.


  1. Begin by introducing the idea of symbols by using the Symbols PowerPoint file to prompt students to name national, state, and local symbols.
  2. Tell students that they will be working in groups to learn about symbols in the U.S. Select and assign or allow students to choose a United States symbol from the Enchanted Learning Web site.
  3. Divide students into small groups. These groups will be the home groups. Within these groups, number students 1 – 3, 4, or 5, depending on how many students there are. All 1s, 2s, 3s, etc., will join together in expert groups.
  4. The expert groups will read and take notes about a United States symbol for a jigsaw reading activity, using print-outs of the national symbols information from the Web site, or students can work together using a computer. If using one computer per expert group, have students open the Web site and select the national symbol they have been assigned or have selected. Provide the questions (for example, "What is this symbol? What is its history? If it is a monument, where is it located?", etc.) to the expert groups. Model for students how to read and take notes and/or answer the questions.
  5. In expert groups, students can write a short summary together or can practice orally summarizing what they have read.
  6. Once all expert groups are confident that all the members understand what they have read and can orally summarize the information, reconvene the home groups.
  7. In each home group, the "experts" will share what they learned about a national symbol of the United States. The other members of the group can take notes.
  8. After each member of the home group has shared information about a national symbol, ask students to share what they learned. Optionally, you can tell students to study their notes and give a short quiz the next day.
  9. Next, you can have students write a paragraph about national symbols of their native countries, states, birthplaces, or another place. Show your model paragraph. Have them select a place (ideally their native country, hometown or place of birth) and choose 2-4 symbols of that place. If they need to, they can get information about these symbols from Wikipedia  or Simple English Wikipedia. Guide students in writing a topic sentence identifying the place and its symbols, describing briefly each symbol using transitions between sentences, and using a conclusion.
  10. Last, students may make a PowerPoint presentation about two or three symbols (or use another type of visual aid). Show a model presentation, based on the paragraph (with a title slide, map of the location, a slide with pictures for each symbol, and a conclusion slide) and then have students make their visual aids and make oral presentations to the class.

Teacher Tips

  • Many sites, like this one, have advertising. Teach your students what ads look like and how to avoid selecting them since sometimes they contain malware that they will not want on their computers, at school or at home. It is a very important and necessary skill for them to know.
  • In addition, you can download the app Mercury Reader located at This will remove most of the ads and clean up the page.

More Ways

  • Enchanted Learning offers Web and print curriculum materials, many without a subscription, appropriate for use with many levels of ESL on the subjects of holidays, states, maps, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, games, and much more. See the site index for a complete list.



  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (0.1) Communicate in interpersonal interactions

Basic Communication

  • (5.2) Understand historical and geographical information

Basic Communication

  • (7.3) Demonstrate ability to use problem-solving skills
  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • (7.1) Identify or demonstrate effective skills and practices in accomplishing goals
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.