Father's Day Brainstorming and Writing

Grade Levels: 4 - 6


  • Students will practice their brainstorming and writing skills.
  • Students will discuss what fatherhood means.



  1. First, keep in mind that not all of your students may have fathers in their lives, due to death or separation. These students could partcipate in the projects by modifying the gifts for other important adults in their lives.

  2. Share the following basic information about the history of Father's Day with your students:

    The founding of Father's Day is associated with Mrs. John B. Dodd of Washington State. Mrs. Dodd's mother died in childbirth, leaving her father, William Smart, to raise six children. As an adult Mrs. Dodd came to realize the difficulties her father must have faced as both a working farmer and single father. Thanks to her efforts the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane, WA, on June 19, 1910. The third Sunday of June was not designated as Father's Day until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the holiday.

  3. Brainstorm with your class about the meaning of fatherhood, from general to more specific ideas about what being a father means.

  4. Talk about how fathers are represented in the media, from Mr. Cleaver to Tim Allen to Homer Simpson.

  5. How have images of fatherhood changed over time?

  6. What kind of a father do they think Barack Obama is? Joe Biden?

  7. Now, you can brainstorm with your class about the meaning of "father figures." Many people have been influenced by men who act as father figures. We look to the powerful, kind men around us to help us understand what being a man means, and how men should act.

  8. What does fatherhood mean metaphorically? For example, consider a term used often in history classes – the "Founding Fathers" – which refers to the men who wrote the Constitution. They are fathers of what, and of whom?

  9. Discuss statistics about fathers as caretakers. Why, for example, are men in the West and Midwest more likely to care for children than men in the South?

  10. Distribute the Fathers as Caretakers handout. Read this with your students.

  11. You are ready to have your students write an essay on the meaning of fatherhood. Here are a few essay topics:

    • My father and me: Describe the positive aspects of your relationship with your father or your father figure. You may want to use personal anecdotes.
    • More than just one day: How can we support and love our fathers every day?
    • If you were to become a father, what kind of father would you want to be? If you were to become a mother, what kind of father would you want your children to have?

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