One idea would be for families to read the Declaration of Independence together.
EDSITEment has two lessons on that foundational document, as well as many other lessons of the Founders, the Revolutionary War, the role of African Americans and Native Americans, and religion in the Revolution.
To top it all off, we have Frederick Douglass great speech What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
In this speech Douglass begins by praising the founders, and the principles of the Declaration, then he attacks the hypocracy of the present generation of Americans for their continued acceptance of slavery, and finally he concludes with his reasons for optimism that in coming years slavery will be eliminated.
Another way to share patriotism is by using great American short stories, poems, songs.
This year we are featuring a new model curriculum for civics which does exactly that.
The Meaning of America http://edsitement.neh.gov/feature/meaning-america-new-approach-civic-education
Teachers and students might interested going back through this sampling of historic newspapers articles to read about how Americans in earlier days celebrated the holiday as "Independence day and not the 4th of July...." ("In the Olden Time,")
Chronicling America - 4th of July Celebrations, 1876-1911.
The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
Jump to: Sample Articles