TeachersFirst's U.S. Presidential Inaugurations Resources
Every four years, the U.S. celebrates the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next. 2009 was an especially historic year in U.S. history, with the juxtaposition of Lincoln's 200th birthday and the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but every inauguration is unique in some way.
No matter what grade level you teach or candidate you support, Inauguration Day is an important event worthy of notice in your classroom. This list of reviewed resources from the TeachersFirst database will help you find ways to include the inauguration and its historical significance in the context of your curriculum.
Since news sources often generate specialized but temporary web resources just in time for Inauguration Day (January 20), you will also want to use a Google News search for the most timely information, such as news articles and images. Combine the news images with the historical background and ideas from this collection to help students gain perspective and a deeper understanding of the importance of a peaceful transition of power.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark this site as a resource to find many ideas for engaging students in poetry. Use Amanda Gorman's poetry to spark your students' interest in learning about poetry. Start by watching and sharing Gorman's inaugural reading on YouTube. Ask students to share their reactions to the reading using Answer Garden, reviewed here. Post a question to Answer Garden that requires a short student response, such as, "What is the predominant emotion you felt as you watched Amanda Gorman read her poem?" As students add responses, view the word cloud that is created to discuss how poetry is used to deliver emotions. Use a video response tool such as Edpuzzle, reviewed here, to enhance learning by inserting questions and comments within the YouTube reading by Gorman. Include questions of your own and those found in the lessons shared on this website. Extend learning further by asking students to create and share poems. This Poem Generator, reviewed here, helps students develop confidence and learn the basics of poetry writing as they start on their poetry journey. Find many more ideas for teaching and sharing at TeachersFirst Poetry Month Editor's Choice Resources.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWordClouds is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomShare speeches from this site on your class webpage or blog for students to view at home. Share them with your class using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president, famous scientist, or nearly any other real or fictitious person after viewing and listening to speeches on this site. Use the text of speeches to create a word cloud; try WordClouds, reviewed here, to analyze a leader's priorities and emphasis. Use these examples as students prepare their own persuasive (or propaganda) speeches in English or civics classes. Teachers or ELL students can offer speeches with accompanying texts to help build vocabulary and listening skills.
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.
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
In the ClassroomYou must be able to copy and paste text or provide a url to a page of text as well as determine parameters of more advanced word clouds. Alternately, these word clouds can be kept very simple. After creating the word cloud, be sure to save the image (or use a screen capture) to share with others. Another idea, use the url of the cloud or embed into a place to share such as blog, wiki, or site.
This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Help students develop creative fluency by creating their own WordArt and ideas from scratch. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create WordArt of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Collect thoughts about the class subject at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year to determine changes in thoughts about the subject matter.
Grades2 to 12
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In the ClassroomYou need to know how to copy/paste text passages (ctrl or command + C, then ctrl or command + V to paste. Think Velcro to stick it there!). If you wish to Save, you must join the site (email required). Alternately, capture the image using screen capture (apple/shift/4 on a Mac or Print Screen on a PC.)
Use a word cloud in virtually any class. With emergent readers, enter multiple words with the same consonant cluster or vowel sound, so they can SEE a visual grouping of that sound on your interactive whiteboard and guess the sound. Project a teacher-created word cloud at the start of a new lesson or unit and have students determine what the lesson will be about. Have students use word clouds to proof their own essays or stories. Use word clouds for students to identify the subject and frequently used words to check if they are on target with their intended message. Have students find overused words in their own writing as part of lessons on word choice. Teachers could create and save a word cloud then share it as a visual prompt for students to work individually or in groups to identify words they know (and the definitions) as well as the words they are unfamiliar with. Create word clouds of passages or stories and allow students to guess the author, title, subject, or meaning of the story. Underscore motifs in literature by creating clouds of passages, especially poetry. Have students work together to make clouds of alternative ways to say "said" or "went" in story-writing to post in your classroom as a reference. Create word clouds of opinion passages to determine the bias of the author and possible reasons for that specific opinion. Make word cloud posters on health topics such as the potential health risks of smoking. Make word clouds of different food groups. Create higher order thinking activities by approaching text in a unique way.
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 Lino, reviewed here, of inauguration information for students to dig though. With older students, have cooperative learning groups create their own Lino. 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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare the pictures of the gowns on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then, enhance student learning by having them research an inaugural ceremony, and using Telescope, reviewed here, either write a blog entry (from the first lady of their choice) discussing the inaugural ceremony (and what they wore) or have your budding journalists write a mock commentary on the political "message" sent by a chosen first lady via her fashion choices.
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): inauguration (6)
In the ClassroomHave 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 a book using Bookemon, reviewed here, on their topic.
Grades3 to 10
tag(s): inauguration (6)