TeachersFirst's Resources for American Presidents

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

Whether you are celebrating Presidents Day or learning about the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, this collection of reviewed resources about presidents provides a rich starting point for research, class study, or multimedia projects. If this list is too broad, use the search tool at the left of this page to find resources on a specific president or within a certain grade range. You may also be interested in TeachersFirst's Resources for U.S. Elections or TeachersFirst's Resources for U.S. Presidential Inaugurations.

 

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History Explorer - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection,...more
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection, navigate between historical eras, or filter the information by selected themes (Arts and Culture, Politics and Reform, etc.) Items in the exhibit are linked to National Museum of American History websites that provide more in-depth information.

tag(s): agriculture (54), american revolution (86), famous people (19), japan (61), japanese (42), jazz (15), lincoln (86), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. There is enough information in "exhibit" details to provide a starting point for students trying to decide what to base a research project on. Recommend the site to students who are having difficulty picking a project subject.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Civil War for Fifth Graders - Radford University

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5 to 7
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It's not the flashiest Civil War site, but if you're looking for a kid-friendly resource, this one won't disappoint you. You'll find a concise, well-written overview of the pivotal...more
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It's not the flashiest Civil War site, but if you're looking for a kid-friendly resource, this one won't disappoint you. You'll find a concise, well-written overview of the pivotal events, people, and places that shaped the War Between the States - perfect for the upper elementary classroom. Older students can use it as a helpful research and review tool.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72), states (163)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan ideas and activities in this site. There are printable treasure maps and new "fort Sumter Art." Refer to this site if ever looking for activity ideas in a Civil War unit.

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Debating Our Destiny - MacNeil/Lehrer

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8 to 12
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This site presents the presidential debates of the past through the eyes of those who were there. Video clips of debates from 1976 through 1996 are provided along with ...more
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This site presents the presidential debates of the past through the eyes of those who were there. Video clips of debates from 1976 through 1996 are provided along with reflective commentary from the former presidents on their individual performances. The "Behind the Podium" section offers some revealing information about debate preparation and the differences between debate formats (formal vs. town hall). This would be an excellent resource to explore with your students before this year's presidential debates. Use it to generate discussion and encourage analysis.

tag(s): elections (75), politics (99), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted on the "teachers" portion of this site. This would be a great way to connect current events to those of past elections - a useful resource for a US government class.

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White House Historical Association

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1 to 12
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This entertaining and informational site about that famous residence on Pennsylvania Avenue is filled with something for everyone. Younger students can focus on the colors and shapes...more
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This entertaining and informational site about that famous residence on Pennsylvania Avenue is filled with something for everyone. Younger students can focus on the colors and shapes found throughout this historic home while meeting some "first kids" and famous "first pets." Older students can listen to audio clips of presidents during the last century, take several outstanding White House tours, and discover many historic treasures located throughout this famous home. Elementary and Middle School students will love the informational and interactive "Bird Watching Expedition," led by Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Teddy Roosevelt and several other animated presidential personalities.

tag(s): presidents (130), white house (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site to provide background information for a unit on 19th and 20th century American history, to form the basis of a lesson or unit on the American presidency, or as a stand-alone enrichment activity for your history classroom. Lesson plans in printable PDF formats are available for all grade levels
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Washington State Pioneer Life - University of Washington

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3 to 12
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Washington State's pioneer life database includes lots of archival photos presented in a searchable format that's light-years ahead of many similar efforts in other states. Teachers...more
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Washington State's pioneer life database includes lots of archival photos presented in a searchable format that's light-years ahead of many similar efforts in other states. Teachers and students will likely find the sections on early Alaska, the Klondike, and the Yukon of particular interest. There's great term-paper fodder in this one!

tag(s): alaska (25), gold rush (19), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Use this site to search for primary sources during a unit on the Gold Rush that brought so many people to the Alaskan frontier. Primary sources could be used to teach both the content and historical thinking skills in your classroom. Divide students into 5-6 groups, with each group assigned a different primary source to read and evaluate. (Sources should come from various perspectives to make the game more interesting) Have the groups present quick summaries of their source to the class, making sure to mention who the author is and whether or not there could be bias. After all have presented, have each team pick a representative to argue in front of the class as to why their source is the most reliable and valid. After all have made their argument, have the class vote off the least reliable "survivor style" until you are left with just one!
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Rulers

Grades
6 to 12
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Deceptively simple and not at all pretty, this site offers a wealth of information on the historical governance of scores of countries. (Where else could you find a chronological list...more
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Deceptively simple and not at all pretty, this site offers a wealth of information on the historical governance of scores of countries. (Where else could you find a chronological list of the prime ministers of Spain?) It doesn't offer complete histories, but secondary students studying the history of other countries may find its synopsis-by-ruler an interesting starting point.

tag(s): countries (77), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on your class wiki or webpage and refer students to it for reference. It's best use would be to help students compile the executive history of a country and search that way, rather than searching for information on a specific ruler. This would be a great starting point for a student studying monarchy in a particular country such as Britain or Saudi Arabia.

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Lyndon Johnson Library - University of Texas

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6 to 12
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Lyndon B. Johnson was a politician's politician, and the site from his presidential library offers tools that both scholars and students can use to trace his career and the accomplishments...more
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Lyndon B. Johnson was a politician's politician, and the site from his presidential library offers tools that both scholars and students can use to trace his career and the accomplishments of his administration. There's an extensive "Kids' Section" with information on the Johnson Administration.

tag(s): civil rights (117), presidents (130), texas (4)

In the Classroom

Use the kids portion of this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on the Johnson Presidency. Based on what they've learned in the site, have students resummarize it in a "breaking news presentation,"using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here.
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The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation

Grades
1 to 12
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This one's just for fun, but it's an eloquent statement about the dangers of technology used inappropriately. Technology teachers and those who help teachers with technology will likely...more
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This one's just for fun, but it's an eloquent statement about the dangers of technology used inappropriately. Technology teachers and those who help teachers with technology will likely find this a great illustration for questions about when technology is appropriate.

tag(s): lincoln (86)

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First Ladies - The White House

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4 to 6
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This section from the White House web site offers short histories and biographies of America's First Ladies. These include attention to twentieth century women who made their own accomplishments...more
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This section from the White House web site offers short histories and biographies of America's First Ladies. These include attention to twentieth century women who made their own accomplishments while living in the White House. Elementary students may find this one useful as part of a women's history study, or while learning about the presidency.

tag(s): first ladies (2), presidents (130), white house (13)

In the Classroom

This site would be extremely useful during an American History class. Use this site to provide students with knowledge of the too often forgotten members of the White House - our first ladies. Towards the end of the semester, use this site as a spring board for research projects on the first ladies. Students can use this site as a beginning in their quest for information.

Another use would be to show the ever-evolving role of the First Lady. Review with students the information found on one of the initial first ladies - Martha Washington is an interesting one, and have students compare her role with that of a more recent First lady. To compare the two,use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).

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Jimmy Carter - PBS

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6 to 12
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The Carter presidency's tone ranged from the lows of the Iran hostage crisis to the highs of the Camp David peace accords. This site from the PBS American Experience series ...more
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The Carter presidency's tone ranged from the lows of the Iran hostage crisis to the highs of the Camp David peace accords. This site from the PBS American Experience series offers time lines, sound clips, images, and a teacher guide containing lessons based on the issues with which Carter grappled. Curiously, the site takes only passing notice of Carter's numerous activities and achievements since leaving the White House.

tag(s): iran (12), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Use the Teachers guide to help identify ways to incorporate this site into your classroom, both through lesson plans and classroom activities. This would be a helpful resource for a US government or history class.
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Civil War Classroom Activities - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well...more
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well beyond the war itself. Designed for use in grades 7-12, these one- and two-period lessons are well-annotated, include lots of web links, and come complete with downloadable PDF files. Students will find these an interesting set of source ideas for reports and the like, and teachers will be able to take this content in many different directions. Well worth a look!

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities offered in this site! The majority are somehow tied into the video, but there are some that also are broad enough that showing the video is not necessary.
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Charters of Freedom - National Archives

Grades
6 to 12
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Though part of a larger site about America's historic documents, this collection of biographies of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will find plenty of use by itself....more
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Though part of a larger site about America's historic documents, this collection of biographies of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will find plenty of use by itself. These delegates wrote our Constitution, but today's students know very little about any of them. Find the details of each man's life here!

tag(s): american revolution (86), constitution (79), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

This is a great site to introduce the American Founding Fathers, or for reference around Presidents Day weekend. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, during a lesson on the individual fathers. Have students look at the site, and select one image that they think represents a particular Founding Father. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. Have them report a story on the founding fathers as if the issue of the constitution is a current one, and they are informing the public of its happenings.

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Lessons from Rediscovering George Washington - Claremont Institute

Grades
6 to 12
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Here is a very thoroughly prepared, standards-correlated set of lessons about Washington and the formation of the United States. History teachers working with AP or advanced students...more
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Here is a very thoroughly prepared, standards-correlated set of lessons about Washington and the formation of the United States. History teachers working with AP or advanced students will appreciate the variety of opportunities these lessons offer for open discussion. Those working with younger students will find great ideas that they can use in a less intense fashion

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100), presidents (130), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of these free and incredibly detailed lesson plans about George Washington and the Revolutionary Period. There is an amazing of information within these, so be sure to browse all of them before selecting the right one for your classroom.

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Rediscovering George Washington - Claremont Institute

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6 to 12
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This companion site for the PBS program of the same name offers well-written text about Washington's life and times. The content is nicely divided between information on Washington,...more
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This companion site for the PBS program of the same name offers well-written text about Washington's life and times. The content is nicely divided between information on Washington, the man, and Washington, the public figure. The absence of images and effects is noticeable, but the content shines through.

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100), presidents (130), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Use the timeline on the interactive whiteboard or projector to provide perspective about Washington's life for students. Use the timeline to provide some context for the period - it is a great way to highlight the important events before you yourself provide more details on each one.

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How Air Force One Works - Howstuffworks

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4 to 12
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For the fans of Presidential gadgets, Air Force One is the ultimate. Here's a site that really does explain how the president's jet functions and what it looks like on ...more
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For the fans of Presidential gadgets, Air Force One is the ultimate. Here's a site that really does explain how the president's jet functions and what it looks like on the inside. Lots of text, images, and animations will make this one attractive for curious airplane fans.

tag(s): air (163), aircraft (24), flight (36), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for students working on research projects or papers concerning the President and one of the many services surrounding him. This site has a lot of great information and would be a great springboard for further research. Make sure to include this site on any resource sheets concerning their research!
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The Middle East Media Research Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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The Middle East Media Research Institute has assembled a fascinating collection of translated opinion and articles related to the middle east. Since much of what the Arab world is saying...more
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The Middle East Media Research Institute has assembled a fascinating collection of translated opinion and articles related to the middle east. Since much of what the Arab world is saying never makes it into English translation, this site could offer an interesting glimpse of opinions in the Arab world. Students will be interested in the range of opinions offered.

tag(s): arab (18), israel (17), palestine (7)

In the Classroom

Use the MEMRI translations as a resource for a current events themed assignment. Using this site and a US news organization such as the New York Times or Washington Post, have students find articles of similar subjects and compare the coverage between that of a Middle Eastern Country and American media sources. Have students note items such as bias, focus, information used as well as differences in coverage. Students can do this as a long term research project or as a quick in class activity with a Venn diagram. If completing it in class, use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).

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Eleanor Roosevelt - National Park Service

Grades
6 to 12
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This National Park Service site documents the life of the first First Lady who really had a career of her own. The site covers Mrs. Roosevelt's life before and after ...more
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This National Park Service site documents the life of the first First Lady who really had a career of her own. The site covers Mrs. Roosevelt's life before and after her time in the White House, and it has a particularly strong collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and other objects from the First Lady's life.

tag(s): new deal (6), roosevelt (16), women (101)

In the Classroom

If looking for a way to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt, try the slideshow of scenes from her life on this site! Eleanor Roosevelt is an interesting character in history as the slides show, and this could be used during a unit on her husband or during Women's history month. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard in order to show your students a brief slideshow representing who she was.

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George Washington - A National Treasure

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, designed to accompany the Smithsonian's traveling exhibit by the same name, offers a collection of information on Washington for both students and adults. ...more
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This site, designed to accompany the Smithsonian's traveling exhibit by the same name, offers a collection of information on Washington for both students and adults.

tag(s): washington (36)

In the Classroom

There is a very complete teachers' section with more than a dozen lesson plans. (How about Washington's Rules of Civility for a starter?) and teachers can order an education kit based on the exhibit. Lots of possibilities at many grade levels for this one.

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Presidents' Day Page - Sheila A. Simmons

Grades
1 to 5
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Here's a very simple pictorial introduction to the lives of Washington and Lincoln, created for California's SCORE program. Primary students will have no trouble navigating these pages...more
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Here's a very simple pictorial introduction to the lives of Washington and Lincoln, created for California's SCORE program. Primary students will have no trouble navigating these pages and reading the simple descriptions. This site offers a slideshow with some authentic pictures of both famous presidents. Includes links to literature, class activities, bibliography, and related information. The class activities are ready to go and easy to follow. Most include standards, and all but two of the outside links were working at the time of this review.

tag(s): lincoln (86), presidents (130), washington (36)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for research projects or a quick President's day activity. Check out the class activities section for some "ready to go" lesson ideas (with standards). Share the slideshow on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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