Language Activities for Presidents Day
Big Book of Presidents
Select a group of presidents to study (i.e. Presidents of the 20th century, war-time presidents, well-known presidents, etc.). Divide students into groups. Assign each group one or more presidents.
For each president, groups will need to find a picture, find out when the president served, identify three of his major accomplishments, and write a brief biographical sketch (one to three paragraphs).
After information is gathered, give groups one 9" x 12" sheet of construction paper for each president assigned. On one side of the page, students should paste a picture of their president. Beneath the picture, students should note the years in which the president served.
On the other side of the paper, students should paste the biographical sketch. At the bottom of the sheet, students should paste their list of three major accomplishments.
After pages are completed, ask each group to share its information with the class. Following the presentations, assemble all of the pages into a book. If possible, let students take turns carrying the class-made book home and showing it to their parents.
Every four years, a handful of people compete for the most powerful position of leadership in the United States. During their presidential campaigns, most candidates adopt one or more campaign slogans. These slogans are meant to be catchy, yet meaningful, phrases which help people remember the candidate and what he stands for.
Spend some times reviewing presidential campaign slogans. Listen to ads currently airing on television. Research past campaigns. Discuss traits of a good slogan.
Next, imagine you are running for president. What issues would be important to you? How would you help people remember where you stood on these issues? Design your own campaign slogan.
Dear Mr./Mrs. President...
Choose one current issue that you consider important. Write a letter to the U.S. President stating your view, explaining your view, and encouraging the President to act on your view. Write both a rough draft and a final draft. Mail your final draft to the following address.
President George W. Bush*
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
*or current president
If I Were President...
Close your eyes for a few moments and imagine that you are President of the United States of America. As one of the most powerful leaders in the world, what do you think your life would be like? What would you hope to accomplish? Who would you want to work with? How would you respond to emergencies? How do you think your job would affect your family? your friends?
Write about it!
Assign each students one or more presidents to study. Students should consult at least two sources (more, depending on age/ability level), then write a brief biographical sketch of their assigned presidents. (Assign minimum word count based on ages and ability levels.)
From information provided in the sketch, ask the student to write five trivia questions about his or her president(s). Have students write each question neatly on a separate 3" x 5" index card. On the back of each card, have students print the last name of the corresponding president in the lower right hand corner
Direct students to exchange papers. Each student should read another student's sketch, then compare the sketch to the trivia questions to make sure the answers are present.
Collect the index cards and the sketches. Place the trivia questions in a card file. Place the sketches in an accompanying folder. Put both the sketches and the trivia questions in a learning center area. During free moments, students can read sketches and answer trivia questions.
Cut 6" circles out of brown construction paper. Ask children to decorate one side of the circle like the face of a penny. On the other side, they should write one sentence about Abraham Lincoln's life. After the penny is created, students may punch a hole near the top of the penny, then use a piece of yarn to tie the penny to a clothes hangar. Encourage children to continue making pennies until time is up.
Compare mobiles. Who has the most pennies? Who has the most interesting piece of trivia? What event or events in Lincoln's life did the most people write about?
Vote for Me!
What qualities make a good leader? Which of these qualities do you have? Use these qualities to design a presidential campaign poster for yourself.