The third Monday of February marks Presidents’ Day. I always have good intentions to celebrate and teach my students about this national holiday, but if I’m not careful, it can slip by! Planning my Presidents’ Day activities and lesson plans ahead of time makes such a big difference!
When I’m thoughtful and intentional, I can integrate my social studies and literacy topics and standards to get more into each day. Plus, it reinforces my students’ learning when they hear about Presidents’ Day all day long!
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To help make sure you are prepared with engaging, effective, and fun Presidents’ Day activities, I put together a list of seven different types of things you can easily integrate into your lesson plans no matter if you were planning to teach for one day or one week on this topic.
1. President’s Day Activities: Read Alouds
First, I almost always kick off a new topic with an interactive read aloud. This allows me to introduce the topic, find out what students might already know, and build some background knowledge for students.
I’ve pulled together a list of some read alouds that you might like to use in your classroom. Some specifically talk about Lincoln and Washington. Some talk about the job of the president. Finally, some talk about what it takes to run for president.
- Celebrating President’s Day by Kimberly Jordano
- President’s Day by Anne Rockwell
- Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
- When Penny Met POTUS by Rachel Ruiz
- I am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer
- I am George Washington by Brad Meltzer
2. Songs and Videos
Second, I love using catch songs and interesting videos to help students understand the concepts I’m teaching. I’ll play them during the lesson, and then again during transition times, when we have a few minutes to spare, or in the morning when students come in.
I found a few that may work well in your classroom. Remember to preview them on your own to determine if they are appropriate for your students.
- President of United States Job | Candidates and Responsibility is a quick video that teaches kids about what being a president means and the responsibilities.
- President’s Day for Kids Song walks kids through the different presidents on coins in a fun song.
- Biography of Abraham Lincoln for Kids is a four minute video that explains the life of Abraham Lincoln.
- Biography of George Washington for Kids is a four minute video that explains the life of George Washington.
3. Anchor Charts
Next, I love to use anchor charts to help my students visualize their learning and provide a point of reference. You can create endless types of anchor charts for this topic.
As one of my Presidents’ Day activities, I would make a KWL chart. I would want to know what my students already know (or think they know) about this holiday and about Lincoln and Washington. You can pick up some FREE KWL charts HERE to use with your students.
4. Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers get to the heart of learning for our students. Integrating them into your Presidents’ Day activities and lesson plans allows you to incorporate more writing and help students streamline their thinking.
One type of graphic organizer I love to use is a Venn diagram comparing Lincoln and Washington. This helps younger students realize that they were two different and important people.
You can also use flipbooks to help organize students’ learning and thinking. Plus, you get to integrate literacy again. Students can use flipbooks to compare Washington and Lincoln when they are both young and old. You can also use a flipbook to compare Washington and Lincoln.
5. Shared Reading
Including shared reading in your Presidents Day Activities list makes it easy to integrate social studies and literacy. You can use a song or poem (I have one in my unit you can use HERE). Then, you can find teaching points to use help students with sight words, phonics, and comprehension.
My weekly shared reading teaching points looked like this:
6. Flip Up Books
Flip up books have become a favorite of mine, especially since I have made them digital this year. I have and use three:
Each of these flip up books has six pages of activities for students to do either with you as a whole group or independently. They are easy to print and assemble or use as a digital notebook in Google Slides. Flip up books are great to use throughout the week or to do if you just need something quick to cover Presidents Day.
7. Writing Prompts & Craftivities for Hands-On Presidents Day Activities
Finally, another one of my favorite Presidents’ Day activities is a craftivity! A writing activity plus a craft equals a craftivity. My students love them, too! We would make a crafty George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and then we would write facts we learned about them to share.
This also served as an informal assessment in both writing conventions and social studies.
I know planning a week of lesson plans for each subject can be overwhelming. From switching from Pinterest to Youtube to Google, it’s a lot to put together! So, I did it for you! The Presidents’ Day Unit has a ton of activities that you can easily implement into your lesson plans. It includes:
- Abraham Lincoln Teaching Poster, Graphic Organizers, Mini-Book, Timeline, Craftivity
- George Washington Teaching Poster, Graphic Organizers, Mini-Book, Timeline, Craftivity
- Compare and Contrast Washington and Lincoln
- Lincoln and Washington Sort, Venn diagram, and Flip Book
- Presidents’ Day
- Teaching Poster
- Graphic Organizer
- Shared Reading Poem
- Presidents’ Day Headband Game
- President Writing Prompts
Head to my store and grab yours today to be prepared and equipped for teaching all about Presidents’ Day in a fun and engaging way!