Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hail to the Chief!

With Presidents' Day fast approaching, you may be looking for a fresh way to present pertinent but fun lessons about the Chief Executive.  If you're short on time, or are only looking for quick inspiration, I have the perfect one-stop-shop to recommend.  The National Archives includes a page dedicated to Presidential Libraries online at http://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/.  From this portal, you can access something as basic as an interactive presidential timeline (http://www.presidentialtimeline.org/; please note: this timeline is not created by the National Archives but was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts) to a virtual tour of the White House (http://www.jfklibrary.org/).  Students can hear the voices of some presidents.  Teachers are rewarded with lesson plans that incorporate primary documents, artifacts and other resources.  Virtual tours of each library are available as well.

Additional online resources include state historical societies (for information about presidential landmarks by state) and the National Park Service.  One of February's featured lesson plans is "Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial: Forging Greatness during Lincoln's Youth."  This teacher resource provides an opportunity to teach with historic places (http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/126libo/).

For something a little different, or for another perspective on life in the White House, visit to the National First Ladies' Library (http://www.firstladies.org/).  Lesson plans are available based on a variety of standards and for a wide range of grade levels.  The "resources" page is loaded with links on a variety of topics.  A button for "facts & trivia" would make a great resource for a scavenger hunt or for creative questions for a quiz.

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