Keeping It Current

For Grades K–6

This Month in History: August

Extend your social studies instruction with informative and inspiring content from HMH®. Each month we bring you articles, activities and current events designed to build cultural awareness, media literacy, and a deeper understanding of significant historical figures and events.

Classroom Resources from HMH

  • Tmih flag day

    National Navajo Code Talkers Day

    August 14

    The Navajo Code Talkers are often regarded as a “Secret Weapon” that helped the Allied Forces win World War II. But today, the traditional Navajo language is in danger of dying out. Several years ago, Disney and the Navajo Nation Museum teamed up to help keep it alive with a Navajo language edition of “Finding Nemo.” Let's take a look at why Native American languages are dying out and how we can preserve them.

    Opening Activity:

    Play this audio recording of the Pledge of Allegiance for students. Do not display any video or images.

    • Think-pair-share: Ask students to guess what language is being spoken.
    • Introductory questions: Is anyone familiar with Native American languages? Has anyone in class attended a traditional Native American festival or celebration or visited a museum dedicated to Native American history and culture? What did you see, do, and learn?


    Have students read the following news articles online:

    Then, have the students answer the following questions in complete sentences.

    • Why was it hard to cast the part of Nemo in the Navajo edition of “Finding Nemo”?
    • What was the purpose of creating a Navajo language version of “Finding Nemo”?
    • What are some general reasons for preserving the Navajo language?


    Students should respond to the following writing prompt: Is it important to preserve languages that people no longer use in their daily lives? Why or why not? Support your argument with details from the articles, online research, and your own ideas.

    Closing Activity:

    Ask students the following question and have them share their thoughts on an exit ticket:

    • Other than movies, what are some ways to interest kids and teens in learning and preserving traditional languages? Share an idea.

Additional Resources

  • TMIH in the news

    HMH In the News is a great resource for elementary classrooms, with fun articles about what’s going on in the news. This website delivers age-appropriate current events stories about people, communities, the United States, and the world every month. Come back often for new stories, spotlight features, and polls.

  • TMIH current events

    HMH Current Events enriches your secondary classroom with subject-specific information from world history, world geography, American history, economics, psychology, sociology, civics, government, and African American history. It also spotlights today’s headlines with activities, and web links.