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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these word clouds on interactive whiteboard or projector to analyze the presidential agendas in a civics or government class. Have students make their own clouds of text from other speeches using Wordle, reviewed here or similar word cloud tools to add to the comparison options. During political campaigns, share this comparison and invite students to create ones of their own between different candidates. In English/language arts classes, use the word clouds to spark discussion of propaganda techniques, word choice, and effective speech techniques. Share this discussion in debate club, as well, to point out the importance of carefully crafted messages. Have students create and compare clouds of their own speech drafts while studying persuasive writing.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThis site will work well for classrooms with individual spelling lists as students can input their own list to create printables and online activities for spelling practice. Watch the animated biographies on your interactive whiteboard as part of your President's Day activities. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Share the link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to access from home.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFor those who are not strong readers, the audio-video combination provided here may make the concepts in the Gettysburg Address more accessible. For other students, there may be deeper, more complex questions sparked by the video. Did the creator of the video capture the concepts authored by Abraham Lincoln adequately? This video could be the "jumping off place" for a variety of questions the class might consider or project ideas for individual students. How might you do it differently? What about other well-known speeches or documents? How would you illustrate them for a similar video? Challenge students to create their own video accompanying a famous speech and share the video using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades5 to 9
In the ClassroomChoose a student-created video to use as an introduction for a new math topic. For example, when working with multi-step equations, show one of the student's videos on the site on your interactive whiteboard as an example of how one student solved the problem. Use this as a springboard to classroom discussions on problem solving equations. There are several videos on the site with this topic, so a new video can be shown each day as examples of different problem solving methods. Use the student examples in your classroom to demonstrate how students can explain different math topics, then create your own explanatory video or audio presentations. Have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or challenge students to create a video and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Post student work to your classroom website or blog for students to use at home for review.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomConsider placing this site on your class web page for students to use in researching political viewpoints, both in relation to upcoming elections and in ongoing political debate. It's a site for true politics junkies, but will be useful for those who are looking for concise information collected in a readable, easy-to-access format. Use the site during your study of the legislative branch and have groups follow congressional groups of individuals, creating a timeline of their activities using a tool such as XTimeline, reviewed here or Dipity, reviewed here. Embed the congressional timelines in your class wiki for students to compare and critique or to trace an incumbent's activities during an election cycle.
GradesK to 6
tag(s): keyboarding (37)
In the ClassroomInclude this site for your computer center time. Challenge students to post the highest score on the math games. Use the keyboarding practice games to help students learn proper keyboard placement of fingers.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this online exhibit for an in-depth study of Walt Whitman. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the notebooks available at this site and create a multimedia presentation to share their findings. Have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or create a class wiki dedicated to the poetry of Walt Whitman. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through .
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomThis site will fit perfectly into any social studies or history class. Have students explore this site independently or in small groups. If used independently put the site on a classroom computer and use as a center. Create a class job for a student called Historian. They can check the website to see what was happening that day and report it to the class. Have students choose an event from the site, find an image of Lincoln and upload it to Blabberize reviewed here They can then have Lincoln "talk" about an important day of his life.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector and then let students explore the site alone. Art and science teachers could use this interactive technology to demonstrate the interconnected nature of the two disciplines. Art teachers can use this interactive to give students a chance to understand an art form not available at school. Science teachers could use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on heat and molecules. Science and Chemistry students may enjoy the "Science and Glass" page found under the "Learn" tab. World history courses studying ancient Rome, Middle Ages and Renaissance could use this fun interactive and their video "Fire Gods" to launch a comparative study development of how glassblowing (art) effect the social and economic influence of a region. This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Schools in the Tacoma Washington area can take advantage of the Science and Art curriculum, schedule field trips, or look into having the Mobile Hot Spot come to your school.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomEngage your class in real world learning while building fluency and reading skills. "Voices in the Dark" is always looking for people to contribute to their on-line library of audio books. Consider having your class submit an audio recording of their own to the collection. First choose a genre to focus on such as Fairy Tales or Aesop Fables. Review the page that contains directions on how to select stories, create a recording, and submit work. There is a list of links full of public domain books from which to choose. They provide tips on how to record your reading and directions on how to submit your work. Sites such as Audio Pal reviewed here may be helpful in creating your recordings. Of course, check with your administrator before attempting this project and obtain parent permission before sharing or posting student work.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): presidents (130)
In the ClassroomUse the site to supplement teaching of modern American history by focusing on the twelve men who have led the country since the 1920s. Make the site a resource to students who are researching Presidents. Use the galleries to compare and contrast the lives of these men: what do they have in common? How are they different? What does it take to be a President? Have cooperative learning groups compare two presidents using a tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
Grades5 to 12
Certain parts of this site require Unity web player. You may be asked to download the player (it's free), in order to try the 3D interactives.
In the ClassroomThis site could be used in several ways. Individual students can visit the site when finished with class work or use it as part of a learning center about Washington's life. (You will need a dedicated computer or two.) Cooperative learning groups could explore specific topics within this website and create multimedia presentations to share with the class. Challenge the students to find images for the information, put captions and animation with them using a site such as Animoto, reviewed here.
Teachers who use this site with fifth graders, be aware that some of the parts that are not read to the students are written at the 8th grade level. You may want to lead the students up to the point where the game starts. Once the students get to the games, they will have no trouble.
A good project to accompany "Washington's World" is to have students research another President's world in another time period i.e. Lincoln. Teachers and students together can decide on the type of information found in Washington's world and research it for Lincoln's world. Each group of students could be in charge of different types of information. Have students create a project to compare life during both presidents time periods. How about an interactive Venn diagram using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThe History Channel is providing a lot of support for teachers who might want to assign watching the series as extra credit or enrichment, as well as those who can use video clips for lesson introductions or reinforcement. Share the relevant video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Or have cooperative learning groups each view individual videos and create multimedia presentations about their topic. How about online posters ("glogs") highlighting the important facts learned from the video. Have students use a site such as Glogster EDU, reviewed here. At the very least, the teachers' study guide will provide you with some new ideas or resources!
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to visit each area of the supreme court. Share the video clips. This site is also a good tool to use to prepare for a field trip to the Supreme Court. In addition it can be used as a review tool after a field trip. Students can work cooperatively and research one of the areas on the site. They can then use the interactive whiteboard and site as a visual aid for their presentation. Art teachers can use the pictures on the site to teach about historical architectural features. Have art students narrate a picture using ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis activity could be used by individual students or in small groups. An interactive whiteboard or projector would also work fine. Since there is no right or wrong advice, students could tap in on the resources as they research to support their decisions and to speculate on how history might have turned out differently had Lincoln made other decisions. Perhaps have them write a blog post as Lincoln trying to make a decision. Have groups create multimedia presentations to share their decisions and possible outcomes. How about a podcast using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or have students create news reports and video to share with the class. Share the videos using a site such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): lincoln (86)
In the ClassroomThis site is a great way to introduce a lesson or unit on Abraham Lincoln, Washington D.C., the Civil War, or civil rights. When used on an interactive whiteboard, students will feel like they are at the memorial. The site provides tools for you to zoom in and explore all the memorial has to offer. In addition, by clicking on HTML you are brought to the download section of the website. All interviews and panoramas are available for download, both audio and video. Have your students work in cooperative groups to download the audio of the park rangers and import it into PhotoStory or iMovie. They can then add their own photos to correspond with the narration. If you aren't using a MAC, create a similar presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse the archives to find activities sorted by season and math strands making it easy to find just the right activity for whatever strand you are teaching. Then allow students to learn through exploration and constructivist learning. Mark this site in your Favorites as a regular stop to look for seasonal alternatives. Consider sharing some areas of the site with parents for students to find math activities that are fun to retain skills over long breaks. Take photos of the completed projects and have students demonstrate their understanding of the concepts by narrating one of the photos using Slidestory, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 10
tag(s): bill of rights (29), branches of government (48), congress (33), constitution (82), courts (15), democracy (12), elections (76), game based learning (112), presidents (130), supreme court (22)