father’s day

A Learning Activity for Father’s Day
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame

Father’s Day is an opportunity for a fun, yet meaningful lesson, but also time to be mindful that not all children are living with a father. Although there are a variety of activities that largely revolve around creating a poem or a craft that can be given as a gift a more notable lesson can make it learning relevant. Before starting the teacher needs to see which students don’t have fathers at home. These students may elect to send this card to any male in their family. The teacher should discuss this matter with the students first so that there aren’t any hurt feelings. A call home may also be in order.

Once this is accomplished the students create a card such as the one here:

The My Hero Theme is an excellent one, but the heroic figures that the student uses needs to be their own. Research on five or so of famous male heroes in history enables this activity to be a true learning activity as well.

To start the lesson the students research famous men in history. The make a list of their character traits and what they accomplished. They decide on which five have the traits that the “father” in their live might have. Next give them a blank card. This can be simply cut poster paper, a large index card or something more elaborate. On the front they write the names of the five men and what they accomplished. They can also consider drawing or printing out pictures to place next to the names.

On the inside cover the student writes “Happy Father’s Day” with some art work of their own making.
On the third page that write, You have the traits of these famous men in history. After they list the name they write the trait and what that person accomplished. For example, you remind me of John Muir because you love the outdoors (http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/life/muir_biography.aspx)
and you remind me of John Glenn because you encourage me to meet new challenges
and you are like Martin Luther King, Jr. because you believe all people are equal

On the back page the student can create a poem to their father.
The result is an activity that is requires new learning and is most appreciated by the parent or guardian because it is unique.

Sites with relevant lessons

History of Father’s Day

Most Famous Fathers in Literature
For older students. They need to read the book,
A short version of famous literature fathers-day

Lessons for all levels

ESL lessons

Mainly primary arts and crafts

Link site to a variety of Father’s Day lessons and activities

Statistics about Fathers
These could be used as the bases for a math activity

The Cardboard Box

By Alan Haskvitz


Free resources at




It wasn’t a very big cardboard box; maybe a foot wide and nearly as deep, and it probably weighed less then five pounds. Still it has been sitting in the living room for sometime without anyone having the strength to move it.

You see, this small box contained all my dad’s belongings from 90 years of life. His wife had died about a year ago and he had never expected to outlive her. They had very few material goods to show for their years of work and 60 plus years of marriage. But it didn’t matter because they had each other and their three children and that was enough.

When his wife died my father moved into a room at his daughter’s home and spent some time with his sons. But something was missing and he decided to return to Minnesota and his roots and sisters. It was a sudden decision as had been his sale of the trailer home he and his wife had lived in for over 20 years. A home they dearly loved so much they had spent nearly all their money moving it to a safer park after repeatedly been victims of crime. Within a year in this new safe haven his wife, my mother, died a slow death from cancer.

Dad was now alone. He desperately wanted to fit into his children’s lives, but it was so difficult being nearly deaf and with his sight almost gone. The thing that he seemed to enjoy most was just being around them and feeling their presence.

In early March my brother called and asked me to keep my dad the day before my father’s flight to Minnesota. I welcomed the opportunity. I especially wanted to thank him for all the things that an honorable man gives a son; passion, patience, motivation, and direction.

I arrived early to pick-up my dad and opened the car’s trunk in anticipation of a lot of luggage. I was wrong. My dad only had a small-wheeled suitcase, a handful of records and tax statements, and the box.

We came home to a meal my wife had made especially for my father and we talked about nothing. When my teenage son asked him when he was planning to return to California my dad started to cry. It is very hard to watch a huge man sob. Dad’s eyes filled with tears at the thought of perhaps never seeing his children again. He loved them in his way.

We sat across the dinner table looking at one another. Two men who never really learned how to express their feelings sat eating silently. A son and a father who in over 50 years had never hugged or exchanged an expression of love sat staring at each other trying desperately to find the courage to speak. Silently, heads down, we ate, and the opportunity slipped away.

Small talk around the television and the sharing of a few photos ended the evening. Before going to bed he walked into the bedroom and brought out the box.

“I want you to have this,” he said handing me the cardboard container. I thanked him and placed it unopened on a table in the living room.

We were interrupted by my brother arriving for the trip to the airport. My dad refused my offer of help with his suitcase. He was a proud man who had never bowed to anything in his life except age. A man brought up in the tough Dakota Badlands who had to quit school in the fourth grade to help support his impoverished immigrant parents. Dad shut the car door, and after a wave from his rugged farmer’s hand, was whisked away into an uncertain future.

“Be careful, Dad. We’ll call you, dad. Thanks, ” I said, trying hard to stuff each familiar word with so much more meaning.

A lot was left unsaid when my father left. I stepped back into the house not knowing I was never to see him again.

I looked at the small dusty box sitting on the table knowing that it contained all the worldly possessions from my father’s nine decades of life. Inside there was a glue stick, scissors, three hats, two pairs of sunglasses, two broken radios, a bookend with his initial, a remote control, and my mother’s small jewelry case.

I closed the box. It was too heavy with memories to move.


Harry Haskvitz died in September of 2004. He was 92-years-old. The box remains in a place of honor in his son’s home.


Alan Haskvitz is a former Reacher’s Digest Hero in Education. You can find out more about him and free materials at his website.


This article is copyrighted.

Father’s Day Lesson Plans

By Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz


My Father

My story of what my father left me after 90 years of life.


Fun Father’s Day facts



Father’s Day Clip Art


History of Father’s Day


Primary Crafts and Cards




Fathers Day lessons for older students


Father’s Day Poems


Craft Ideas