TeachersFirst's Resources for American Presidents
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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTake your students on a virtual field trip! This is a great way for kids to "visit" the White House. Include it during inauguration week or any time you are studying U.S. government. Show the website using a projector, and have students write a tour script or a tale of something that might happen in the White House. Younger students might want to write a story from the President's dog's (or other pet's) point of view! Before using the site, you should familiarize yourself with how to use the Google Maps street view tools to navigate through the house. Better yet, have a student operate the tour on the whiteboard or projector.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomToday's Document would make a fantastic discussion starter in any classroom. It is an interesting, visual way for students to acquire background knowledge about American history and/or the Constitution and government. You may want to display a document on your interactive whiteboard as a bell-ringer (opener) activity, or as a story starter in English class. Cover up the cartoon explanation, and ask students to discuss events that they think took place. In U.S.history, government, or civics classes, use the site as an example, then challenge students to create their own comics to explain a topic using comic-creation tools from this TeachersFirst collection.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the foldable puppets when studying presidents or during your election unit. Share with students who are preparing presentations of political figures. You can also use this idea to create current candidate foldables from photos. If your students have simple movie making software such as iMovie, they could even act out campaign speeches, interviews, or debates and record them on video. Art teachers may want to use the templates as a guide for students who may want to try creating their own foldable puppets.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomAll of these topics are of interest to students doing research into 20th century US and international history, and might be particularly useful to students working on in depth projects for National History Day. After researching a specific topic, have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
As an important primary source, political cartoons provide an important insight into the issues and controversies of their time period. More than simply who did what, and what happened where, these drawings show us the emotions and conflict involved in the ugly and messy business of politics.
In the ClassroomStudents can gain insight into the events of the first half of the 20th century as well as draw parallels between the issues of that time and today. How are Presidential campaigns different and how are they similar? Challenge students to create their own political comics using one of TeachersFirst's many comic/cartoon tools reviewed here.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomMark this readaloud in your Favorites for use when studying famous Americans or as a wonderful lead-in to Martin Luther King Day or Presidents Day.
Grades4 to 8
tag(s): abolition (7), american revolution (86), bill of rights (28), black history (59), colonial america (107), declaration of independence (13), history day (23), inventors and inventions (101), louisiana purchase (7), maps (288), native americans (78), politics (99), presidents (130), slavery (72), states (163), washington (36)
In the ClassroomEven if you do not have time to explore all the offerings, check the list of activities often to enrich your background information on U.S. historical events and people and your lessons. Search for templates or maps that are useful to what you are currently studying.
GradesK to 6
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In the ClassroomLead your students to this site filled with information. Research can determine the many myths and true information about Thanksgiving. Allow students to plan and make parts of their Thanksgiving feast. Find fun activities, crafts, decorations to make your celebration perfect with your students and families. Add at a center for timely fun information and research time. Link this to your class website or wiki for parent information and extensions at home.
Grades2 to 7
In the ClassroomProject this story onto an interactive whiteboard or projector for shared reading or have students listen to it in small groups at a computer station. Ask students to explore the "About the Art" tab, and research one of the four artworks featured in the story. Afterwards, have them present their findings to the class. Integrate the study of Art with writing lessons by inviting the class to compose an additional chapter and research page to this story. Let students decide what additional awesome adventures Aaron might have with other pieces of art in the Metropolitan. Let students choose artwork found in their database collection. If you are lucky enough to live within field trip distance to the Metropolitan, have students select a work of art while touring the museum. Consider having students post their stories on Thinglink, (reviewed here), or create a comic strip version of their chapter with Comic Creator, (reviewed here). Include a link to this site and the class stories on your class webpage.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThe animations would be stunning on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and teachers doing a unit on world religions or trying to backfill a history of Iraq would find certain presentations very useful. Be sure to click "View Full Screen" to fill your projector or whiteboard screen. American history teachers could use the animation on U.S. wars and casualties as an overview. The animations can be streamed from the site, or the whole package can be downloaded for use locally. On the whole, however, the site still leaves questions: Why these topics? Despite claims to the contrary, is there a political message here somewhere? Be sure to open this discussion with your students, as well. Since the site has "professional looking" glitz, should we believe it without any knowledge of its creator? If not, how can we check its accuracy?
Grades6 to 8
tag(s): africa (180)
In the ClassroomThe K-12 Teacher's Resource has many links to organizations dealing with these topics.
Grades5 to 12
Although the videos are the highlight of this site, there is much more to explore! On the right side bar you will find text boxes to enter ANY date and choose the category. Some examples of categories include Civil War, Cold War, Presidential, Sports, Old West, World War I and II, Entertainment, and several others. On the left side bar there are even more topics and links to explore. Once you click on the subject area, specific "story topics" are provided under the subject. Both of the features on the right and left side of the site display text information, not video clips. This site does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): presidents (130)
In the ClassroomYou can add this in your RSS reader. Why not use the RSS feature to remind you of the day's events? Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The topics on the left and right side bars make excellent research references.
For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.
Perfect resource for stimulating interest on a variety of topics.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these resources to connect Presidents' Day to your curriculum in almost any subject or select one or two ideas to highlight along with your regular lessons. This collection would also be useful during a unit on the three branches of government, specifically investigating the Executive branch.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as a class opener, or as a transition between lecture and an activity. Their length (2 to 3 minutes) makes them perfect for helping visual learners focus on the main events, or for providing a preview or summary of lecture topics. They may not form the centerpiece of your lesson, but they're nice to have in your "back pocket" to use as an enhancement.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this website as your online destination for teaching, researching, and starting a conversation about the primary people, changes, speeches, and events of the John F. Kennedy era. Do not miss the links at the upper left corner of the home page for the Legacy Gallery, Downloads and Resources, and "History Now" which provides an interactive timeline that links today's date to details of what transpired during JFK's presidency. Highlight the ideals articulated fifty years ago to serve as a springboard for today's students to become actively involved in public service by projecting the authentic broadcast reports, videos, newspaper accounts, and other media on your classroom whiteboard or projector. Team up with colleagues in other departments to engage in interdisciplinary learning projects. You may want to have students collaborate to put a new spin on a research report. Challenge them to create a newspaper article about the domestic affairs, foreign policies and diplomacy, the arts, or any of the other extensive topics found on JFK50 by using the Newspaper Clipping Generator. Polish it off by having students create magazine covers that reflect the content of their articles, essays, or reports by using Magazine Cover Maker reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): search engines (65)
In the ClassroomShare on your projector or interactive whiteboard to give kids an overview--or explore yourself to learn all the options! This is a great resource for searching through different tools. Students could each take one of the sites for video and dissect it to look for things like intended audience, subject matter it's best for, and advantages and disadvantages of the site as a source. This is a great link to share on your class website for students (and parents) to use at home.
TV and Yearbook Classes: The links under "Copyright-friendly" would be a great starting point for a dialogue on what is fair or unfair to use, and would be a wealth of resources for students as they work to complete projects and pages. TV: The student video portion as a go-to for high-quality student-produced content is a must for any class in production. Have students share news from around the world posting on your class Wiki. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Have student groups "Advertise" different Google tools by doing a live demo on projector or interactive whiteboard for the class. Then use a poll such as Flisti, reviewed here, to find out which tool students vote as "most useful."