Beacon Lesson Plan Library
DescriptionStudents learn about Presidents' Day, the individuals commemorated on this holiday, and their importance in history. They write a letter to a president stating things they have learned.
ObjectivesThe student uses basic computer skills for writing, such as basic word-processing techniques such as keying words, copying, cutting, and pasting; using e-mail; and accessing and using basic educational software for writing.
The student understands that history tells the story of people and events of other times and places.
The student knows significant individuals in United States history to 1880 (e.g., revolutionary leaders, individuals important to American democracy, and individuals who fought for human rights, equality, and the common good).
The student knows people and events honored in commemorative holidays that originated prior to 1880 (e.g., Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran's Day, and President's Day).
The student knows traditionally patriotic activities and various holidays that reflect the shared values, principles, and beliefs of Americans.
-Pictures of presidents, past and present
-Resources, such as picture books, posters, and pictures showing the White House and other important monuments. Example resources include: the White House web site (www.whitehouse.gov); A Picture Book of Abraham Lincolnby David Adler, 1989, New York: Scholastic ,Inc.; A Picture Book of George Washingtonby Adler, 1989, New York: Scholastic, Inc.; The Story of the White House by Kate Waters, 1991, New York: Scholastic Inc.; George Washington; A Picture Book Biographyby James Cross Giblin, 1992, New York: Scholastic, Inc.
-Children's Book such as, Arthur Meets the Presidentby Marc Brown, 1991, New York: Scholastic Inc.
-Word processing software, such as Kidworks Deluxe or Kid Pix Studio
Preparations1. Gather resources such as newspaper articles with pictures of the president, appropriate history and picture books that show past presidents, possible websites, etc.
2. Set up a chart tablet.
3. Prepare the computers, and become familiar with a word processor when creating a document.
Procedures1. Open by asking the students, "What is Presidents' Day?" "Why do we celebrate it?" "Why do some people use a flag to represent this holiday?" Solicit responses from students accepting all and clarifying as necessary.
2. Read one of the recommended books. (See Teacher Preparation.)
3. Introduce pictures of Presidents, past and present, such as those of Lincoln and Washington as well as the current President.
4. Ask the students: "What do you actually think IS the "job" of the President? List answers on chart paper. Discuss the job of the President and things that our past and current presidents have done for our country. These should be significant events such as Lincoln freeing the slaves or Washington leading our country as the father of our country.
5. Model how to use available resources such as picture books, posters, and pictures to find out more about the Presidents and why we honor them with a holiday. Include looking at pictures and interpreting the meaning of the pictures as well as reading books with large print.
6. In small groups, allow time for the students to research their topics by looking through various resources showing the Presidents, the White House, and other monuments. Remain available for discussion and to answer questions while the students complete (teacher assisted) research.
7. After students have had ample time to "research," meet together as a whole group to share what was learned. Chart responses on a visual map (such as a semantic web) to organize their findings. State that they will use this information to write a note to the President of their choice to tell him what they have learned about Presidents' Day and significant historical events accredited to them.
8. Model writing the note in rough draft form on paper. Then, type the information on the computer using a word processing program.
9. Have the students type a letter to the President telling him three things they've learned about past Presidents, the job of the President, and Presidents' Day.
Note: Style this any way you choose. If you have email capability, have the students email the letters to your address!)
AssessmentsConduct formative assessment while students are completing the project. Check for the following:
-Can the student recall facts learned?
-Is the student adding found facts to his note?
-Is the student typing the note using a word processor?
*Through one-on-one discussion with the student while completing the project, ask the following questions:
-Who was the first president?
-Who is our current president?
-What is the president's job?
Provide feedback as the student progresses toward completion.
For summative decision-making, use the following criteria in the form of a rubric:
The student types a note that clearly states three facts learned about each the following:
-Why we celebrate Presidents' Day
-Presidents of past and present
-Description of the President's job (responsibilities)
Note: Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.
Web LinksWeb supplement for Presidential Sweet
The White House
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.