Honoring the President: Resources for Celebrating President’s Day

By Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

Mount_Rushmore (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mount Rushmore (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

This week, classrooms across the country have the opportunity to pay tribute to contributions and legacies of U.S. Presidents as we prepare to celebrate President’s Day on Feb. 20.

Whether looking back or witnesses today’s presidency firsthand, the role of the head of the United States is one that students need to understand as paramount for guiding the country to progress and prosperity. It’s an opportunity for students to learn about leadership, responsibility and historical change. There are multiple ways you can integrate dialogue on the presidency into your classrooms.

Introducing the Presidency to the Youngest of Students 

Learning About U.S. Presidents – Get kids started on researching their favorite U.S. President! Curriki member Lexi Kuch offers a lesson plan on researching and creating a presentation for students in grades 3-5.

On Top of Mt. Rushmore – This curriculum unit from Andrew Doyle guides students in learning about each of the presidents carved onto Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, and discovering their contributions to American history.

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities:  Understanding the President’s Job – This curriculum unit reviews the structure of the U.S. government, discusses the different tasks undertaken by the president, and offers an interactive online activity simulating a typical day on the job for the president.

George Washington -Gilbert Stuart oil painting (Source – Metropolitan Museum of Art)

George Washington -Gilbert Stuart oil painting (Source – Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities:  Communicating with the President – This resource encourages students to consider the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy. They learn about the different means the president uses to communicate with the public and then express their views on a particular issue in a letter to the president.

Civic Discussion for the Middle Years

The Presidency – This free app for iOS devices is designed as an easy reference for elementary and middle school students for facts on all of the U.S. Presidents.

Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents – Here’s an opportunity to read the first sentiments for the nation from George Washington through to Barack Obama.

The President’s Job – Students will review the roles of the presidency by using objects, images, and documents in this section of the online exhibition The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden.

Defining the Presidency – This resource teaches students about the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the election of our first president, George Washington.

President Lincoln and his Cabinet-Christian Schussele drawing (Source-Metropolitan-Museum of Art)

President Lincoln and his Cabinet-Christian Schussele drawing (Source-Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Leadership Studies for High School Students

George Washington – Studying the first leader of our nation? This collection on George Washington includes videos, biographical information, historical archives, artifacts, transcripts and lesson plans to support an in-depth analysis of his leadership.

Abraham Lincoln – This collection on Abraham Lincoln helps enhance studies on the Civil War, examining the president who ended slavery and unified the North and the South. The collection includes his famous Gettysburg Address, lesson plans, online games, curriculum units, and documents from Lincoln’s presidential library.

Communicating the Presidency – This resource from the Smithsonian Institute helps students learn how mass media, the entertainment industry and consumer products are all used to conduct a national dialogue between the president and his constituents.


LaniLani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Inauguration and Protest

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Iniguration

Source – Wikimedia Commons

Last Friday, we saw departing President Barack Obama hand the leadership baton to Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, in a solemn ceremony in Washington, D.C., that has been repeated many times since George Washington’s inauguration.

The next day, millions of people marched in Washington and across the country (and the world) in non-violent protest of the Trump presidency and to declare their support for the rights of women, LGBT persons, immigrants and Muslims.

The timing of the two events presents a unique opportunity for educators and homeschoolers to examine both the role of the presidency, including inaugurations through history, and that of non-violent protest in eliciting change.

Inauguration

The inauguration of the President of the United States is a ceremony that marks the commencement of a new four-year term of a president. It happens at the western front of US Capitol on Jan. 20. The oath is usually administered by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the new president and vice president officially take office at noon.

Women's March on Denver (Photo by Hammster Media)

Women’s March on Denver (Photo by Hammster Media)

Curriki offers several resources that explain presidential inaugurations.

The Role of the President

Curriki offers a curated collection of lessons and activities that help students grasp the complex responsibilities and roles of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government.

  • The President’s Job helps students review the role of the presidency by using objects, images and documents.
  • Defining the Presidency helps students learn about the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the election of our first president, George Washington.

Civil Protest

  • The Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration – as well as 386 sister marches held in other cities across America – invites us to take a look at the historical role of nonviolent protest on government action.
  • The mission of the march, according to the Women’s March on Washington website, was: “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore.

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

For educators and homeschoolers, the women’s marches present an opportunity to teach about democracy’s basic principles. The grassroots protests can ignite interesting debate in the classroom, as well as a lesson in the history and effectiveness of non-violent protest.

  • The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President, a collection of two lessons from EDSITEment, encourages students to consider the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.
  • Protest Signs examines protest signs as a powerful and important way for people to express their feelings, as children compare 2 protest signs from the civil rights movement and then create their own expressive poster. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Students Sit for Civil Rights, by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Photo of Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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