I’m sorry that I haven’t written a blog in a couple of weeks – I was on vacation at Disneyworld! Of course it was so much fun! But I completely missed Valentine’s Day – and I am late sharing anything for Presidents’ Day – but maybe someone can find something to use another year. I will also post some Valentine’s Day stuff soon – for your files!
In my district we usually had either an inservice day or a day or two of winter break in February, so it was easy to fit in a few days to talk about President Washington, President Lincoln and our current President. We didn’t do an indepth study at all, but I wanted to give the children a little information about each President. We celebrated a different president each day – usually starting with Washington.
The best strategy for me was to tell the children a story about each President – including some of the myths that they might hear. I know there are a lot of conflicting opinions about telling children that Washington chopped down a cherry tree, or wore wooden teeth. In the story I make up to tell the children I explain that the whole point is that George Washington was remembered as a very honest man, and the story about the cherry tree might never have happened, but it helps us remember that he told the truth. I also tell them a little about how dentists didn’t have tools to use like we have today – and that Washington had teeth that were not comfortable in his mouth – although they probably weren’t really made out of wood. After I tell my story, we read a book about Washington, then made a book to remind us of some of the things we discussed.
Again, I am sorry that I don’t have original masters of these books – but I am happy to share the finished books.
I usually bought those little flags on cocktail toothpicks – sometimes at a Dollar Store, but the copy I saved of the book has a handmade flag.
We put the cherry tree on a brad fastener so it could fall down – again, I emphasized that this was probably just a made up story about George.
For years I had a supply of little wooden tiles meant for a doll house roof that I used for the wooden teeth. When I ran out of those I broke tongue depressors into pieces and the children glued those on.
We also did rubbings of quarters – and played math games with money.
My whole point was to build schema about presidents – give them a little background knowledge and understanding of the common myths they might hear about this time of year.
Another day we heard a story, read books, and made a book about Lincoln too.
The picture cues helped the children remember what to put on each page.
Sometimes we used a scrapbooking tool that made the paper look corrugated – bumpy. Sometimes we glued on popsicle sticks – other times we just drew lines to look like a log cabin. We got out the Lincoln Logs to play with too!
I premade little books with 4-6 pages inside. The children had to draw and write on each page of the book before they glued it into the Lincoln book.
I taught the children a simple poem about Lincoln
Kind and good
Was honored and loved by many.
To help us remember this President
We put his face on our penny.
This was a great time to reinforce coins. We did lots of sorting, rubbings, etc.
One of my calendar routines was adding a penny for each day of school – we said our penny poem every day, then traded for nickels, dimes and quarters – whenever we added a coin we said the poem.
I didn’t save our booklet that told about our current President – and of course I had to change this every time we elected a new President. It was a simple folded piece of xerox paper, with a clipart picture of the White House on the front. It was easy to find simple facts and photographs of the First Family online. The children would bubble cut out small pictures of them and glue them inside the folded paper. Then they would label the President, his wife’s first name, and the names of the children. We also included their pets. I tried to tell them interesting facts about each person and they would draw a simple symbol to represent these facts – for example – “Michelle Obama wants children to eat healthy food.” They would draw healthy food near the glued on picture of Mrs. Obama. My purpose was to spend some time talking about our President and give them just a little information.
Sometimes we also read books and talked about the American Flag – and made a simple one that we mounted on a straw or a pencil.
We often brainstormed and wrote about what we would do if we were the President of the United States.
Sometimes the children free cut trees, and we tied yellow ribbon around them – and wrote about why we are happy to be Americans. I liked to do this if any of my Kindergarten parents were actively in military service.
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