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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Biographies of the Presidents - The White House

Grades
4 to 12
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The White House web site includes short biographies of all the American presidents, suitable for introductory use or to compare presidencies. There are also a few facts about the presidents,...more
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The White House web site includes short biographies of all the American presidents, suitable for introductory use or to compare presidencies. There are also a few facts about the presidents, presidential "firsts," and the various administration. The site includes several video clips, some require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): presidents (131), white house (14)

In the Classroom

Share the historical video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for research projects on the U.S. Presidents. This site is a perfect addition to your Presidents' Day celebration!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Dear Mrs. Roosevelt - New Deal Network

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6 to 9
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This site uses letters written to Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the Depression, to teach lessons about that difficult time to younger students. Transcripts...more
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This site uses letters written to Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the Depression, to teach lessons about that difficult time to younger students. Transcripts of the letters are indexed, and most include the responses sent by Mrs. Roosevelt's secretary. In nearly all of the cases, the responses simply say that Mrs. Roosevelt gets so many requests for help that she cannot grant the children's requests. While this is certainly understandable, some students may find it surprising, as they have gotten used to "feel good" stories in the press about poor persons' wishes being granted. This may serve as an important discussion tool in helping students understand the very real distress suffered by many families during the Depression. The remainder of the site looks at several larger social service projects that Eleanor Roosevelt strongly supported, and which helped the poor in much more important ways than the granting of small requests by children.

tag(s): franklin (12), great depression (24), new deal (6), roosevelt (16)

In the Classroom

This 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.

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Lincoln 200 Years - C-Span

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6 to 12
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery....more
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery. The highlight of this site is the video link. Click and find video clips (some reenactments, others lectures) about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Gettysburg Address, Pre-Presidency, and his Assassination. This site also highlights the release of four new pennies in February 2009.

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.

tag(s): civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

If 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).

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Lincoln's 200th birthday coincides with Obama inauguration - The Earth Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This website is essentially a news article highlighting the inauguration of Barack Obama (the first African-American president in U.S. history) and the celebration of the 200th birthday...more
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This website is essentially a news article highlighting the inauguration of Barack Obama (the first African-American president in U.S. history) and the celebration of the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. This article compares the two American heroes. The theme of Obama's inauguration is Lincoln and how the two men are similar. Both took office during critical times in U.S. history, both faced huge challenges, both are from the state of Illinois, and both are known for their inspirational speeches.

tag(s): inauguration (11), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Share 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.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

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3 to 12
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This simple site offers several "Classroom Connections" to use in conjunction with a field trip to the museum. However, many of these ideas could easily be adapted into research projects...more
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This simple site offers several "Classroom Connections" to use in conjunction with a field trip to the museum. However, many of these ideas could easily be adapted into research projects or writing assignments for students in social studies or history class without a museum visit. All topics relate to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, or 19th Century Kids.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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A Problem, A Penny, A President - Sandi King

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K to 5
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This interactive site offers a short slide show about Lincoln. It all starts when Michael can't figure out how to take his papers home (he has no pockets). Lincoln pops ...more
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This interactive site offers a short slide show about Lincoln. It all starts when Michael can't figure out how to take his papers home (he has no pockets). Lincoln pops out of a penny and teaches Michael about the 16th president (himself), the Civil War, the Lincoln Memorial, the penny, and a trick to take your papers home: put them in your hat! This site offers basic background information on the president and his legacy, perfect for even the youngest of students. The site has the option of reading the online story with text only or including audio. This site includes Florida standards.

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

In the Classroom

Share 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.

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Civil War@Smithsonian - Smithsonian

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7 to 12
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This outstanding site examines America's most profound national experience through artifacts that are housed in the Smithsonian Institution. Twelve topics - including Slavery and Abolition,...more
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This outstanding site examines America's most profound national experience through artifacts that are housed in the Smithsonian Institution. Twelve topics - including Slavery and Abolition, Appomattox, Life and Culture, Weapons, and Mathew Brady - link to virtual collections of objects that can be individually explored. A Civil War timeline is included. Some of the interactives require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): abolition (7), civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

This 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?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mr. Lincoln's Attic - Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

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3 to 9
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This downloadable PDF file offers a very detailed lesson plan and classroom activities about Abraham Lincoln. Topics include "Who Do We Collect Artifacts," "Do Objects Talk," "What's...more
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This downloadable PDF file offers a very detailed lesson plan and classroom activities about Abraham Lincoln. Topics include "Who Do We Collect Artifacts," "Do Objects Talk," "What's In A Name," and "Oral History Interviews." Although this site was created as a "Teacher's Guide" for classes visiting the museum, the lessons can be used independently without a trip to Illinois! Each topic includes standards, discussion questions, printable pages, pictures, and more. This site requires Adobe Acrobat, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): letter writing (21), lincoln (86), presidents (131), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This "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."
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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No Rest for the Weary - The New York Times on the Web

Grades
6 to 12
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This website features a "ready to go" lesson plan highlighting key events in Abraham Lincoln's life from 1862-1864. The lesson includes objectives, standards, thinking questions, interactives,...more
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This website features a "ready to go" lesson plan highlighting key events in Abraham Lincoln's life from 1862-1864. The lesson includes objectives, standards, thinking questions, interactives, a culminating exercise, and more. Students will browse articles from the New York Times, research key questions using interactives, and write reaction papers. Use this site to celebrate Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

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

In the Classroom

teach 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).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Podcasts: Civil War Tours - civilwartraveler.com

Grades
4 to 12
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This site includes 14+ podcasts focusing on famous battles of the Civil War. Each location also includes a detailed map, brief description, dates, and more. Most are rather lengthy...more
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This site includes 14+ podcasts focusing on famous battles of the Civil War. Each location also includes a detailed map, brief description, dates, and more. Most are rather lengthy ranging from twenty to fifty minutes. This site opens slowly at times and requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Share 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).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lincoln Bicentennial: 1809-2009 - Library of Congress

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K to 12
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there ...more
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there is an interactive timeline, online quiz, podcasts, detailed lesson plans for all grades K-12 (with standards), printable pages, research information, suggested literature for all ages, information about the Civil War, Gettysburg, and more! Much of the site requires Flash; some of the printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), lincoln (86), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Be 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).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Illinois Lincoln Bicentennial Commission - Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

Grades
K to 12
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This site, designed for older students and adults, offers a wealth of information about the 16th President of the USA. There are "Lincoln Links" for more information, celebration ideas...more
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This site, designed for older students and adults, offers a wealth of information about the 16th President of the USA. There are "Lincoln Links" for more information, celebration ideas (for the bicentennial), Lincoln organizations, and more. This site is best suited for research projects, although the Celebration Ideas offer 101 exciting ways for students of ALL grade levels to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of the United State's greatest leaders. Some of the links and information require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): illinois (9), lincoln (86), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use 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!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Looking for Lincoln - History Hunt - Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition

Grades
2 to 8
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This site, originally created for students to use during a family field trip around central Illinois, shares information all about Lincoln. Students click to choose a location (Lincoln's...more
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This site, originally created for students to use during a family field trip around central Illinois, shares information all about Lincoln. Students click to choose a location (Lincoln's Law Office, Lincoln Courthouse, Lincoln's Tomb, and several others). Once "at" the location, students are given some basic facts about the locations, a "History Hunt Question" with several clues to help them solve the mystery, and a "Mystery History Object" with pictures of artifacts from the time period and a brief description of the picture. This site is excellent, but does not provide the answers to the "History Hunt Questions." However, most are easy to find at the site. What a fabulous way to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of the USA's greatest leaders.

tag(s): illinois (9), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Take 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.

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One Life: The Mask of Lincoln - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Art, history, and government teachers will all delight in this informative website about Lincoln. There are pictures, detailed information, and even podcasts answering some famous questions...more
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Art, history, and government teachers will all delight in this informative website about Lincoln. There are pictures, detailed information, and even podcasts answering some famous questions (such as Why Did Lincoln Grow a Beard). You will also see the works of Mathew Brady. Take your students on the "Audio Tour" of the exhibit - be sure to turn up the volume! Specific topics cover "The Rise of Lincoln," "The Civil War," and "Lincoln's Contemporaries." This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), oil (45), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use 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."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TeachersFirst: Lesson Ideas for Lincoln - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 12
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For Lincoln's birthday or any time of year, here are ideas to better acquaint students with the life, times, and work of the 16th president of the United States. These ...more
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For Lincoln's birthday or any time of year, here are ideas to better acquaint students with the life, times, and work of the 16th president of the United States. These ideas feature both technology-enhanced lessons and non-tech experiences. Choose from the lesson titles (sorted by level) to find lesson ideas best suited to your students and the subjects you teach.

tag(s): civil war (145), debate (41), lincoln (86), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

No 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!

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I Do Solemnly Swear...Presidential Inaugurations - The Library of Congress

Grades
4 to 12
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The Library of Congress has created this excellent resource that features over 400 images and 2,000 digital files related to the inaugurations of George Washington through George W....more
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The Library of Congress has created this excellent resource that features over 400 images and 2,000 digital files related to the inaugurations of George Washington through George W. Bush (in 2001). There are video clips, references, diary entries, letters, and more. This site requires Real Player and/or QuickTime. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): inauguration (11), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Why 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.

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A New Birth of Freedom - Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

Grades
K to 12
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Are you gearing up for Inauguration Day with your students? Check out this site, dedicated to the "New Birth of Freedom." Visit the History link, learn about the events for ...more
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Are you gearing up for Inauguration Day with your students? Check out this site, dedicated to the "New Birth of Freedom." Visit the History link, learn about the events for the 2009 Inauguration, see photos, view video clips, and more. The videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): inauguration (11), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Assign 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Presidents of the United States

Grades
3 to 8
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Although TeachersFirst doesn't typically review hotlists, this one provides a great deal of information on the presidents, Inauguration Day, the White House, and other "presidential"...more
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Although TeachersFirst doesn't typically review hotlists, this one provides a great deal of information on the presidents, Inauguration Day, the White House, and other "presidential" topics. There are printables, lesson plans (many with standards), photos, video clips, and more. The link Presidential Inaugurations lists countless resources to use in your classroom. Some of the links require Adobe Acrobat or Flash. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): inauguration (11)

In the Classroom

Have students use this site to investigate one aspect of the presidency as an Inauguration Day or Presidents Day project. Cooperative learning groups could choose a topic of interest and then create a wiki page or Bookemon book reviewed here on their topic.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Virtual Freedom Shrine - National Exchange Club

Grades
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This searchable, no-frills site brings together thirty historical documents that were instrumental in creating the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. It's all here - the Mayflower Compact,...more
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This searchable, no-frills site brings together thirty historical documents that were instrumental in creating the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. It's all here - the Mayflower Compact, the 19th Amendment, Martin Luther King, Jr,'s "I have a dream" speech, and much more. Good reference site for a history or civics class.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), constitution (79), presidents (131), speech (92), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Have each student in your class research one of these documents or speeches. Challenge students to create a multi-media presentation: PowerPoint, blog, wiki, or video. Share these documents around Martin Luther King's birthday or President's Day.

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