Teach PA History
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Mother's Day: The Creation of a Holiday
What to Know
Teaching Time
Two 50-minute sessions
Grade Level
Elementary School
  • Civics and Government
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • History
  • Mathematics
Historical Period
  • The Emergence of Modern Pennsylvania - 1901-1928
How was Mother's Day started? Several women contributed to the creation of Mother's Day, but Anna Jarvis –with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker– is credited with having it established as a federal holiday. How did Anna accomplish this feat? How does a holiday become federally recognized? Students will explore these questions using wonderful primary sources (pins, letters, and stamps) from some of the first Mother's Days celebrated. After uncovering the contributors and events leading up to the establishment of Mother's Days, students will emulate the process of lobbying for a holiday by creating a letter to the governor to make a case for a holiday of their own choosing.


Students will be able to: 1. Understand the concept of chronological order and the history of Mother's Day through creation of a timeline. 2. Learn the process of how a holiday becomes federally recognized through the specific example of Anna Jarvis" lobbying campaign. 3. Demonstrate understanding of lobbying process by constructing a letter to the governor advocating a holiday of their own.

Standards Alignment

  • Civics and Government

    5.1.3. K. Identify symbols and political holidays.
    5.1.6. K. Describe the purpose of symbols and holidays.

  • History

    8.1.6. A. Understand chronological thinking and distinguish between past, present, and future time.
    8.2.3. A. Understand the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to Pennsylvania.
    8.2.3. B. Identify and describe primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history.
    8.3.3. A. Identify contributions of individuals and groups to United States history.
    8.3.3. B. Identify and describe primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history.

  • Mathematics

    2.3.3. A. Compare Measurable characteristics of different objects on the same dimensions (e.g., time, temperature, area, length, weight, capacity, perimeter).
    2.6.3. A. Gather, organize, and display data using pictures, tallies, charts, bar graphs, and pictographs.
    2.8.3. G. Use a table or chart to display information.
    2.8.3. H. Describe and interpret the data shown in tables and charts.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.4.5. B. Write multi-paragraph informational pieces.
    1.6.5. D. Contribute to discussions.
    1.6.5.A. Listen to others

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