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 9
In the ClassroomThis site might serve as an important resource during a study of the Great Depression. It can be helpful for students to appreciate the individual hardships suffered by families; these stories are more real than the more complex accounts of financial disasters and bank failures. Students might also be encouraged to compare the requests of these children to their own "wish lists," or consider the ways that social service agencies ought to focus their efforts to assist the poor. Because this is a part of a larger site focused on the New Deal, there are extensive classroom resources and ideas for projects and lesson plans under the "classroom" link. The "library" link leads to a photo archive that could be used as part of a presentation on an Interactive Whiteboard or projector, and the "timeline" link places the Depression into a larger historical context.
Grades6 to 12
Be aware: the links in the left sidebar will take you to the parent site (C-Span), not the Lincoln information. The right sidebar provides a list of recommended websites about Lincoln. This site requires Real Player, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomIf you are planning for the 200th birthday of Lincoln or any study of the Lincoln era, check out this site! This is a phenomenal site for any secondary class. Use this site for research projects. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own videos of reenactments based on their research. Share the videos on TeacherTube (explained here).
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this article with your students. Have your class compare Lincoln and Obama. If they both had cellular phones, what do you think they might text to each other? Have students research the two men and then create a fictitious wiki that the men might have written back and forth to one another. Have students write their own articles comparing the two men.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a starting point for projects about our 16th president. Although most relate to exhibits found at the museum, similar research can be found online. Have students choose one of the several topics to research further.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomShare the slide show on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or have students work on individual laptops (or desktops) to listen to the story on their own. Since audio is available, even the youngest students can participate. What a fun way to celebrate Lincoln's 200th Birthday or Presidents' Day! After viewing the slide show, have students write age-appropriate letters to Lincoln, asking him specific questions about topics highlighted in the slideshow. In younger grades, discuss the questions together and brainstorm a class list.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is an excellent addition to a unit on slavery and the Civil War OR an art class! Have students write captions for the pictures. Challenge students to create a blog entry from Lincoln, a slave, Mathew Brady, or someone else shown in pictures. What were they thinking? Why did they do what they did? How would life have been different if the Internet was around during the Civil War?
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomThis "Teacher's Guide" is ready to go and easily adaptable to various grade levels. Project the discussion questions on your interactive whiteboard or projector, have students write responses to the questions or have a class debate. Print out the activities, and use this site as a mini unit. Have students interview a family member for the "Oral History Interview," and have students learn the meaning behind their own names with the lesson, "What's In a Name."
Grades6 to 12
In the Classroomteach about our 16th president? Use this easy-to-follow lesson plan with your class. Share the interactives on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Rather than having students write reaction papers, have students complete a multi-media presentation, such as a PowerPoint or even a news broadcast. Share the video of the news broadcast on SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare the podcasts on your projector or interactive whiteboard. (Download in advance to avoid delays). While listening to the podcast, project the map on the screen for students to view. After hearing a podcast have students create blog entries from the perspective of the soldiers at the battle. In younger grades, brainstorm ideas together before they start writing the blog entry. In the older grades, have a debate. Divide your class into two debate teams (Confederates or Union). Draw names randomly and allow the teams time to research the REASONS why they support their side of the war. For a shorter assignment, have a class discussion about how the Civil War and battles would have been different if the television (and YouTube) was around to broadcast the highlights of the battles. Would the war have ended more quickly or lasted longer? Why? Another idea: divide your class into groups and have the cooperative groups create local maps that highlight a location that has connections to Abraham Lincoln or the Civil War (if applicable).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to save this site in your favorites! Share the interactive timeline, online quiz, and podcasts using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about our 16th President. Have students create a blog from Lincoln's point of view (or from a slave's point of view AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation). Use the lesson plans designed for the grades that you teach. (Don't miss the history, language arts and writing, and art lessons).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to take your middle and high school students on a walk in Lincoln's shoes. Share his home, legacy, photos, and more on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Try something new to excite your students about learning history: create a blog, wiki, video, website, or PowerPoint presentation.
If you teach ANY level, don't miss the Celebration Ideas. There are activities listed for grades K-12. They are ready to go and mostly easy to do. There are 101 to choose from!
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomTake your students on this virtual hunt during the month of February. Why not visit a new place each day, share the information, ask the History Hunt Question, and share the picture and information about the artifact. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own "History Hunt Questions" about the town where you live and any connections to Lincoln: Underground Railroad Houses, a courthouse that defends the rights of all races, or even a mint where they make Lincoln pennies. Have students share their History Hunt Questions on a class wiki or online as a Place Spotting challenge (Read more about Place Spotting here ).
Younger students will need to do the "hunt" as a whole class activity because of the reading level and sophistication of some of the History Hunt pages. If you have the chance for lower elementary students to work together with older "buddies," they could enjoy the hunt together without teacher guidance. Gifted students and better readers in lower grades could also work on their own.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on the audio tour of the exhibit which features several podcasts. Art teachers, share the pictures with your students (especially the podcast about the cracked portrait). This site also provides some excellent research information. Have students work in cooperative learning groups to explore this site and then create a project: blog entry, wiki, video, PowerPoint, or something more "traditional."
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what subject you teach, you can find something to fit in your plans for Presidents Day or the Lincoln Bicentennial. Use these ideas and adapt at will. You can even email an idea to your teacher colleague to save a friend time!
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomWhy not feature an "inauguration a day" during the week prior to the current inauguration? Use the many images to create a Simplybox (explained here) of inauguration information for students to dig though. With older students, have cooperative learning groups create their own Simplybox. All of the Library of Congress resources are in the public domain, so students can USE these images to create new products, such as a photomontage of an inauguration topic: bands, dress, buzzwords, etc.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAssign a student "pre-inaugural reporter" from the class each day during the month of January to share the latest news and plans about the Inauguration. Have cooperative learning groups compare historical information on inaugurations. Then have the students write a paper or blog entry explaining what their own inauguration would be like if they were ever elected president.
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): inauguration (11)