When most think of Labor Day, the thoughts of summer’s ending, that last dip in the pools before they close, parades, barbecues, and relaxing often comes to mind. These are great ways to celebrate the holiday because it was designed for workers to enjoy time off work as well as remember the history of and the ongoing fight for workers’ rights. Check out these tips below to find ways of celebrating Labor Day in your class so students will know it’s more than a day.
The Labor Day Debate. Have students assemble into groups and argue the pros and cons of celebrating such a day. Give them time to research and form their arguments and present their cases before the class. Arguments may include the history behind the day, current perceptions of the day, the need and abuse of labor unions, the struggle for worker’s rights, child labor, and how labor is used in different states across the country. Then they can assess which perspective was more persuasive and share this information via developing a public service announcement or a temporary mural.
Thank A Worker. Who’s your favorite doctor, teacher, or service person? Prior to writing the letter, explore various jobs people may have in the community such as garbage managers, police officers, teachers, plumbers, and firefighters. Read a book about Labor Day, such as Robert Walker’s Labor Day–which is a part of the Celebrations In My World collection. Discuss as a class ways workers in the United States contribute to society, then write a letter thanking them for performing the jobs they do well.
When I Grow Up. Since Labor Day is about celebrating the contribution that people who work in our society make, why not get children thinking about careers that interest them. Create a bulletin board collage with student-drawn images of themselves operating in their careers, followed by researching more information on what it takes to be successful in those fields and how they plan to achieve their desires. You could also have students write about their career aspirations and put it in a time capsule to be opened at a class reunion a decade or two later.
What other ideas do you have for celebrating Labor Day? Share your best ones below.