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Millions of people are traveling to Washington D.C. to witness history as President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. At the same time, teachers across the country will have the unique honor of teaching the experience as it happens. Besides letting students watch the event live, the Internet is overflowing with extensive lesson plans for teachers to supplement their curriculum.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee along with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association (NEA) has developed a series of activities and lesson plans to help students understand the significance of the event.
The PIC lesson recommendations include details about the inaugural events and history, an assessment of Obama’s first 100 days in office, a reading list for elementary, middle and high school students, and a comparison of Obama with Illinois’ most popular president, Abraham Lincoln.
The PIC is not the only organization that is jumping on this learning opportunity. Lesson plans compiled by Thinkfinity.org feature stories about the kids who lived in the White House. It also puts students in the driving seat by giving them an opportunity to suggest policies that the president should support, providing interactive online exhibits about the presidency and democracy, and even getting the kids thinking about science-related initiatives.
The National Endowment for the Humanities also provides inaugural activities including one called “Sometimes It’s Okay to Swear.” The lesson explains the responsibilities of taking an oath. Other lessons instruct teachers on how to expand inaugural lessons beyond the big day.
What may be missing from the many of these sites are lesson plans identifying the relevancy of Obama as the first African American president or that it coincides with the day observing the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hollister Kids, a Wynnewood, Pennsylvania-based publisher of educational materials, has filled that void. For the Inauguration they’ve created a 16-page package filled with current events about the presidential campaign and black history facts.
“This 16-page package includes a teaching essay on the election of Obama, an essay on how contemporary events connect with the lessons of Black History from the past and profiles of newsmakers that demonstrate the Obama election did not happen in isolation but in the context of achievements by African Americans in other fields,” explains a company press release.
The 16-page “Living Black History” packet referenced in the article above was first offered for the Inauguration and is now offered for Black History Month. These materials may be ordered through the Hollister Kids Web site at www.hollisterkids.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.