Presidents Day, originally known as Washington's Birthday, falls on the third Monday of February each year. Many teachers honor the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in February. How do you select which other presidents to highlight and when do you honor them or do you have a strategy to cover many?
One fun suggestion is to check out EDSITEment's lesson, The President's Roles and Responsibilities: Understanding the President's Job, for activities to help your students understand what a day is like in the life of the President of the United States.
When I taught the primary grades, during Presidents Day the emphasis was strictly on Wasington and Lincoln. Attached is a Kindergarten Enrichment Packet for Presidents Day that I created. Its filled with some of the activities I've used in the past while teaching Presidents Day. The kindergartener will need to know how to read to do this packet independently. Otherwise, with support, you could use it in the classroom with 1st graders. It is 11 pages long, contains a Word Search, Survey Activity, Directions for Presidents Day Sudoko, the gameboard & pieces, a Presidents Day addition/subtraction Math word problems worksheet, Venn diagram & patriotic stationery .
Let me know what you think, and please share any of your own resources with the Thinkfinity Community. Also, if you're looking for ideas for enrichment/gifted education, stop by our Enrichment 4 Kids group in Thinkfinity Community.
I teach American History from Revolution to Reconstruction to 8th graders. One of the units I teach involves learning about the first 7 presidents through a new type of teaching called "Teaching History Using Problems". It's a new concept that was developed by a professor of Education who was also a history teacher. Our school district used his expertise on a Teaching American History Grant we received. The idea is to create a Problem Space large enough for kids to resolve using state standards. Our problem was (is) Who was the most effective leader of this new nation? The kids develop the criteria for what makes an effective leader, and they use the facts of history (the evidence) to persuade me, the reader that each leader was effective, ineffective or both. They also use the criteria that they made, which helps student buy-in. At the end of the unit, they have to rank all seven presidents, and choose the most and least effective leader to write their final essay. I teach them Persuasive Writing using this approach, which has helped our Language Arts department as well. Having developed this unit over the past 8 years, I've been able to include a majority of the state standards in this one unit. Students really seem to remember the "facts of history" when it's tied to a leader.
When I teach Lincoln, its the last unit of the year. I teach it through a problem about the event, not the leader, but it still works. The problem question of this unit is "Did the Civil War and Reconstruction really reconstruct America?" Teaching History Using Problems is a powerful way to teach, and I am gratified to be a part of it.