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.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomIf possible, have your students work on individual computers to complete this presidential assignment. Have students print off their newspaper page and share them with the class. Extend the assignment by having them create a newspaper with similar articles about a real presidential candidate and what he/she might do if elected. Use a tool like Printing Press, reviewed here, to create the newspaper.
Grades6 to 12
The National First Ladies' Library, located in Canton, Ohio, is dedicated to teaching others about the contributions of the First Ladies of the United States, as well as other notable women in U.S. History. In fact, the library is housed in the former home of Ida Saxton McKinley, the wife of President William McKinley. The Library is both a physical resource, but also a comprehensive virtual library of information. The site contains biographies of US First Ladies, lesson plans, and a searchable timeline. There is an online catalog of the many resources available in the library itself; those who do not live nearby could still use the catalog to identify resources associated with former First Ladies. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThese resources might be useful to those doing First Lady biographies for Women's History Month or other famous Americans reports. Students doing more in-depth research for History Day projects will find the online catalog helpful. Check out the link to facts and trivia for a good First Ladies Trivia page.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch the multitude of webquests that are "ready to go" at this site. If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can create your own webquest for each class, tailored to what you want to cover or want students to research. This site also provides a place to post a personal portfolio of your work (if you choose to include any student work, you must have written permission to do so from the student and his or her parent). You might also want students to create webquests as final products of group research projects. Be sure to provide a meaningful rubric for the essential features.
Grades6 to 12
Be aware: during election season, this site opens slowly. But it is well worth the wait.
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUse the site on an interactive whiteboard to illustrate the impact of Electoral College voting on the election of the US President, both today and in the past. Perhaps we will finally raise a generation who completely understands the Electoral College and how it works!
GradesK to 6
tag(s): electricity (90)
In the ClassroomIf you teach science (and even if you only TOOK science), you owe it to yourself to read through this site, at least long enough to find the topics that YOU teach and be sure that your materials are accurate. The best way to find information is probably to browse for the topics you teach and use Ctrl-F on your keyboard to FIND key terms in the text. Of course, if you believe the same misconceptions that our texts have told us for years, you won't know what terms to FIND...You might want to make this a professional learning "game" at an inservice day: find a misconception and debunk it for the rest of the elementary science team. You might want to gently point out the problems to your principal or curriculum director.
Share this site with very bright students to explore and report back to you. Need a challenge for the gifted? Have the students select a misconception and create a CORRECT illustration of the concept in multimedia form. If you give them a wiki space to use for their presentation, you can even submit the link to Mr. Beaty. Now that's authentic assessment!
Grades1 to 3
In the ClassroomThe on-line books would provide wonderful non-fiction literature opportunities for center time or as an activity as part of your presidents unit. Weaker readers or learning support students will benefit from those with audio. The book topics make them great supplements for holidays such as Columbus Day and President's Day. Place the link on your teacher web page and assign the books as homework if your students have Internet access.
Grades1 to 8
Note: an annoying audio ad plays when you first enter the site. Turn OFF your sound!
In the ClassroomUse the current events segment as weekly discussion starter or assignment in your social studies class. Share this link on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class. To really build a stronger sense of current events, start a class year-long current events "log" on a wiki and have a differnet student write a "week in review" each week throughout the year, based on the current events provided here or others he/she may know about. Reading teachers may also want to use the articles on this site to teach informational text reading skills on an interactive whiteboard. Reading levels are challenging for grades 1-3. Teachers will need to provide help by reading aloud or partnering readers.
Grades6 to 12
The lesson plan starts with the familiar "read the story and discuss" format, but there are a number of good essential questions and extension activities provided that could be tailored into a strong classroom plan. The lesson plans have cross-curricular suggestions, and are tied to standards.
In the ClassroomBe sure help your weaker readers and ELL students by sharing the listed vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them.
Use this lesson to discuss current events in politics (which changes daily). Have students discuss and debate the current issues. Have the students write a wiki about a current event in politics (for example, Governor Palin being the first woman VP on the GOP ticket).
Grades3 to 5
tag(s): washington (36)
In the ClassroomThis site provides a "Teacher Tips" page with details, lesson schedule, rubrics and more! You could use this as a model for similar investigations of other states, as well.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThe Gold Rush era in American history usually gets folded into a discussion of immigration or western expansion. The timeline helps put the discussion into a broader context that includes the Civil War. The simulation game would be a good extension activity for students who master material more quickly, or for students to do at home.
Grades7 to 12
This would be a great activity to teach video editing, but more importantly to teach about interviewing, political "message," and the election process.
Although this activity was designed prior to the 2006 election, the video clips will work for most any election.
In the ClassroomAs a class activity, you may not want to upload your resulting videos but instead share them in class, depending on your district policies about posting student work to the web. Certainly, you will want to keep student work anonymous. Tech skills needed: ability to download and upload, locating or creating video clips of responses, use of Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, or similar video-editing software, management of larger files, proper citation of sources.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): area (67)