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Lesson Plans
Vote for Me!
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Additional Activities.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Prep

Materials:
  • Props and costumes for presidential interview
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

-- Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
-- Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
-- Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MBs of RAM.
-- IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 95 or higher.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

Software:
-- Integrated application software such as AppleWorks that provides both a word processor, for notetaking and interview script preparation, and data base program, for Presidential informational data base.

-- Hyperstudio or other grade/age appropriate software for creating informative multimedia presentations.

Bookmarks:

  • The American President Online
    http://www.thirteen.org/amerpres

    Thirteen's companion to THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, the PBS documentary. The site launches on April 5th, 2000.

  • The Presidents of the United States
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/glimpse/presidents/html/presidents.html

    This site, part of the White House Web resources, offers little known "Fun Facts" and interesting "Fast Facts", along with biographical information in an easy to read format.

  • IPL POTUS -- Presidents of the United States
    http://www.ipl.org/ref/POTUS/

    The Internet Public Library Presidents of the United States site offers biographies of all presidents and includes political, historical, as well as personal facts.

  • National Portrait Gallery - Hall of Presidents
    http://www.npg.si.edu/col/pres/indlist.htm

    Presidential portraits and biographical information from the National Portrait Gallery.

  • Grolier Online presents The American Presidency
    http://gi.grolier.com/presidents/preshome.html

    The American Presidency features articles, speeches, photographs, multimedia presentations and other items associated with the history of the presidency and the people who have held that office. It is divided into three separate sets of articles drawn from Grolier's encyclopedias. Be sure to check out:

  • Presidents Game
    http://www.sprocketworks.com/topics/default.asp?topic=3

    Place the presidents on an interactive timeline. Use this site after students have examined and explored the data in the Presidential data base to learn when presidents served and the events that occurred during their term. This site requires the Internet plugin Shockwave.

  • The American Experience/The Presidents
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/indexjs.html

    A companion site to the American Experience documentary, this site features links to information about selected Presidents: Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Reagan. Included are details about career, politics, policy (domestic and foreign), legacy, issues of the time. Appropriate for Older students.






    Steps

    Time Allotment:
    This lesson could take from ten to fifteen class sessions, over as long as a month, depending on grade level and selected activities.




  • Introduce the lesson by asking students to share what they know about American Presidents. Most students will be able to identify Washington, Lincoln and Clinton. Ask students what they know about these and other presidents, when they served, for what are they famous, etc.




  • Introduce students to one or two of the Web sites listed in the bookmark section, highlighting Web sites that offer text, audio, and video resources. The students should use this exploration as an opportunity to learn about presidents unfamiliar to them, who they were, when they served and what was important to the people of the country at that time.




  • Students should also collect specific data and facts to add to the class presidential data base.




  • Partner students to identify a president whose personal life and career interest them for further research. Working cooperatively, students are to collect information that will enable them to develop a role playing presentation in which one student assumes the role of the president and the other the role of an interviewer to present interesting facts about the American leader of their choice. Alternative presentations could include groups of up to three participating in a panel discussion. Students would assume the role of different presidents responding to preset questions.


    Extensions

    Study the data collected in the class Presidential data base to note trends, make predictions and note exceptions in the background, experience, affiliation, etc. of the American Presidents. Make graphs and charts from the collected data.

    Make a language arts connection using Poetry and the American Presidents (http://www.americanpresidents.org/classroom/repoem.asp), a C-SPAN lesson plan based on their American Presidents series.

    Have students interview family members, parents and grandparents, or senior citizen members of the community for their recollections of American presidents. Who did they think was the most influential president and why? Have students share their interview answers or invite a senior to share their recollections with the class.

    Follow the 2000 Campaign using the candidate's websites (a link to these Web sites can be found at Grolier Online, http://gi.grolier.com/presidents/preshome.html). Have students poll their grade or their school periodically throughout the campaign season and graph the results. Find keypal partners around the United States who will survey their schools and share the collected results by publishing a presidential survey web page.

    Tips

    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places.

    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

    You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.


    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.



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