Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Day for Our Presidents

Sandi King
Bay District Schools


No school on Monday! It is a national holiday. Do students understand the meaning and history of our national holidays? Students are invited to listen to, view, and discuss Presidents' Day, the national holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February.


The student knows selected patriotic songs associated with the United States.

The student listens to, views, and discusses stories, poems, and other media about people and events prior to 1880 honored in commemorative holidays (for example, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, Flag Day, Independence Day).


-Student Web Story, Happy Birthday Mr. President.

- A computer with AV/TV or computer lab

- Patriotic music (See Weblinks)

- Various pictures of U.S. presidents, including our present president

- Book
Fradin, Dennis Brindell. [Washington's Birthday]. Hillside, N.J. Enslow Publishers, Inc. 1990. If you find the book too hard, or you have a class that has a short attention span, just read pages 37 – 44.

- Filmstrip and cassette
[Patriotic Holidays, Washington's Birthday]. Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation. 1975. (Contact Bay District Media Center, Resource Unit, # 394.268)

- Resource
Davies, Nancy Millichap. [American Traveler, Washington D.C.]. New York. Gallery Books. 1990.

- Resource
Strickland, Alison. [Washington, D.C., Our Nation's Capital]. New York. Willow Press Inc. 1984.

- Cupcakes with birthday candles, one per student


1. Preview the Student Web Story, Happy Birthday Mr. President. Because of the audio attached, the download time for each page is long. To reduce this waiting time, download each page prior to the students using the story. The pages will be stored on your computer for quick and easy student access as long as your Internet access is maintained. When you close your Internet access or shut down your computer, you will need to preload this story again.

2. Locate various pictures of U.S. presidents, including our present president.

3. Locate and preview the book [Washington's Birthday]. (See Materials.) If you find the book too hard, or you have a class that has a short attention span, just read pages 37 – 44.

4. Locate and preview the filmstrip and cassette, [Patriotic Holidays, Wastington's Birthday]. (See Materials.)

5. Locate and preview the resource [American Traveler, Washington D.C.]. (See Materials.)

6. Locate and preview the resource, [Washington D.C., Our Nation's Capital]. (See Materials.)

7. Locate and preview recordings of various patriotic songs. Your music teacher is a good source for this recording. If one is not available, perhaps the music teacher will agree to produce a piano (or other instrumental) version. Be sure to collect enough songs so there is a new song being used each day.

8. Preview the Web site, Patriotic Music at A variety of patriotic music is available from this site. See Weblinks for a link to this site.

9. Make arrangements for cupcakes with birthday candles, one per student.

10. Use Sunlink to locate books and other media available in your district of Florida. (See the Weblinks.)

Note: These specific books and resources may not be available to you. For the purpose of meeting the standard, any book, video, or other resource may be substituted for the ones mentioned above, as long as the students can listen to and view the story or poem pertaining to Presidents' Day.


Note: Presidents' Day is the third Monday in February. It is recommended that this lesson be completed during the month of February.

1. This lesson plan is associated with the Beacon Learning Center Unit Plan: Mr. President. See the Extensions section of this lesson plan for a link to the unit.

2. As students are entering, play patriotic music. If students know the song, encourage them to sing it. At the conclusion of the song, identify the song and give some fact about its inclusion as a patriotic song.

3. Display a picture of our present president. Have a student identify the person in the picture and initiate a discussion of the office of president. These are sample questions: What does he do? How did he get the job? Where does he live? How long does he get to keep the job? Who was the president before him?

4. Display various pictures of U.S. presidents. Initiate a discussion as to who these men are and what they have in common.

5. The standard addressed in this lesson states the students will listen to, view, and discuss stories, poems, and other media about people and events prior to 1880 honored in commemorative holidays. In this lesson, students listen to and view various books, videos, filmstrips, and a Student Web Story. The materials recommended are an example of those that may be used. If you are familiar with additional materials that students can listen to, view and discuss that pertains to Presidents' Day, feel free to use your material. All material used should cover George Washington's birthday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and the combining of these two birthdays on the third Monday of February as a day to honor all of our presidents. This national holiday honoring our presidents is called Presidents' Day.

6. During group reading time, read one of the books listed. Be sure to show the pictures and encourage discussion at appropriate intervals throughout the reading of the book. A formative assessment occurs as feedback is given to the students during the discussion. Be sure to give affirmative feedback, such as "Yes, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both born in February." Also provide corrective feedback, such as "Our principal isn’t a president, so it is not a day to celebrate our principal. Can you think of a president we have had?"

7. During whole group discussion time (unit time), view an appropriate video or filmstrip that covers the history of and reason for Presidents' Day. Be sure to stop the viewing at appropriate intervals to discuss the actions in the media being sure to engage students in a discussion of the meaning of Presidents' Day. Use this as a formative assessment opportunity being sure to give affirmative and corrective feedback. Give affirmative feedback, such as "Yes, we do use George Washington's birthday to honor all of the presidents." Give corrective feedback, such as "We have had 42 presidents. That is a lot of birthdays to remember. Why do you think we now have Presidents' Day instead of celebrating a birthday for every single president?"

8. During small group, students listen to, view and discuss the Student Web Story, Happy Birthday Mr. President. (See Weblinks for a link to the story.) Students gain the most learning when pairs use Student Web Stories. This facilitates discussions between students, and students learn best when actively engaged in discussing what is being learned. After all students have had an opportunity to listen to and view the Web story, a picture walk should be held using the graphics in the Web story as discussion starters. Be sure to ask leading questions that check the students' knowledge of Presidents' Day as a national holiday. While on the picture walk, use the text-only version of the story, or turn your speakers off. The purpose in this activity is to engage the students in a discussion of what they have listened to and viewed. Formative feedback should be given during this discussion. This Web story is a narrative of a student discussing Presidents' Day and the cupcake party with her mother. This Web story is an excellent opportunity to teach sequencing of events and retelling of a story. This Web story is a vehicle for integrating reading standards and social studies standards.

9. During snack time, have cupcakes. Each cupcake should have a birthday candle. Sing "Happy Birthday" to our presidents. While students are eating their cupcakes, review that Presidents' Day began with a celebration of George Washington’s birthday.

10. Additional teacher information is available from the attached files.


Formative assessment will be administered as described in the Procedures section. Examples of corrective and affirmative feedback are presented. This is an important part of learning and should be administered often.

This is Summative Assessment #2, Assessment Poem #5, "Presidents' Day." See the instructions in the unit plan for administering this assessment. This assessment should be administered beginning on day 7 of the unit. To prepare students for this style of summative assessment, a practice assessment is included with Summative Assessment #2. See the Extensions section of this lesson plan for a link to the unit and unit assessments.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

2. The Student Web Story can be used as a shared reading activity teaching phonics, context clues, or punctuation. It is an excellent opportunity for a picture walk. This Web story models the retelling of events and sequencing of events.

3. Name other national holidays and facilitate a discussion as to why we celebrate that holiday. Examples might include Columbus Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Flag Day, and Thanksgiving.

4. Read stories about other national holidays. Compare the reason for that holiday with the reason for Presidents' Day.

5. Appropriate art activities can be included that would enhance student's understanding of the office of President of the United States.

6. Students can complete the Web story in small groups or in a whole group setting according to the availability of technology. Many school media centers now have a computer projector that will project the enlarged computer screen, allowing for class use of the Web story.

Web Links

This site is a search of all public school media centers for specific books and media materials. Use this site to locate the materials needed for this lesson.

A variety of patriotic music is available.
Patriotic Music

This site gives resource information about Presidents' Day. Links are available to other sites for information about Geroge Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Presidents' Day

This is an online book (Web story) and contains much graphics, so it may take a while to download. Learn about George Washington’s birthday and how it became known as Presidents’ Day. Audio is available.
Happy Birthday Mr. President

Attached Files

Teacher information     File Extension: pdf

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