President's Day PREP....FUN...& a FREEBIE

My favorite time of the school year is when I get to dig deep into Social Studies! I love President's Day and teaching about Lincoln and Washington and I love connecting this unit to our U.S. Symbols unit as well.  It all just blends well together.  Leading up to President's Day, I always take about fifteen minutes at the end of two days and read these books to my kiddos.  If you haven't seen these books by National Geographic Kids you are missing out!  They are incredible books that are easy to read but have a wealth of information that is easy for children to understand.

I also show a few videos on my Smartboard for President's to my little ones as well.  Click the pictures to see the video links.

After we read our mentor-texts and watch our videos, I always make an Anchor Chart about each president where we add important information and facts about each of their lives.

As I mentioned, President's Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with my kiddos so we do a lot of different activities surrounding this holiday.

One of the first activities we do is a President's Day lapbook.

I also made a couple of extra flip-flap books to add on to this unit. Which you can HAVE by clicking the image below...

And if you are interested in doing the whole lapbook with your students, click the image below...

This year, I also plan to add something specific to my Work on Writing Center.  During the week we celebrate President's Day, I am going to have my students complete two writing projects about the presidents independently.  They will create flip-flap books at the Work on Writing Center by using the new knowledge they gained about each president.  These activities will serve as a GREAT authentic assessment at the end of the unit.  

Just FYI, earlier in the year, we read a story in our reading anthology called Abraham Lincoln.  The skill that we are expected to teach that week is timelines, and my students create Accordion Timelines in Abe's Hat :)  This would be a great addition to your President's Day activities as well.

As I mentioned, the unit that I begin right after President's Day is my Social Studies unit on U.S. Symbols.  I feel that these two units blend well together and create a more cohesive unit and understanding for the students.  

So the basic premise of this unit was for my students to learn about all of the U.S. Symbols and important landmarks in North America..and have fun doing it!  So I created Travel Brochures for each American symbol and landmark that I wanted them to learn about.  Each brochure has a picture of the U.S. symbol or landmark and a paragraph or two of information about it.  The front cover of the brochure says "Welcome to ____________" (wherever the symbol or landmark is) and it shows a map with an arrow pointing to where it is located on the map.  Here is an example of one of the Travel Brochures...

So here's how it all went down :)  I organized my desks in groups of 5 and 6 (I and had an uneven number of students this year).  The children were told they were going to travel on DiGilio Airlines (that's my name :) to different destinations in North America.  At each stop in their travels, the must stamp their passport and write the name of their destination.

I created these passports for each of my students.  If you look closely you can see a translucent symbol of an eagle and flag on the first page of the passport.  They look so authentic!

I started each group of children at a specific destination (we started with 4 destinations).  They stamped their passports and then read the Travel Brochures with a partner.  After they did a Partner Reading of the brochure, they had to orally share two facts they learned about the U.S. Symbol or Landmark.  Then they needed to write about it in a specific flip-flap book that would be adhered to their suitcase.   This whole unit took us about a week to finish.  We traveled for 3-4 days and then we did our opinion writing at the end.

This is the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Flip-Flap Book where they wrote 2 facts about each one.

This is the Mount Rushmore Matchbook Flip-Flap Book.  They had to write 3 facts about Mount Rushmore in this flip-flap book.

There are a total of nine destinations they visited and learned about.

Here is what their suitcase will look like when they have traveled to each of their destinations.

This is a completed Student Sample....

(Please excuse the horrible picture!!!  I took it with my iPhone and tried to clean it up a bit!  LOL)

Here is a better picture...LOL :)

I wish I could have taken pictures of my little ones as they traveled to the 9 different destinations, but I am not allowed to :(  But I have to tell you...they LOVED this activity.  When they came in to class the next few mornings they would say to me, "Where are we traveling today, Mrs. DiGilio?"   They are too precious!  I love when they excited about their learning.

After we finished all of our traveling, we wrote opinion writing pieces on The Most Important American Symbol OR The Most Interesting Tourist Attraction.  They wrote their reasons for their opinions on a graphic organizer and then wrote their paragraphs in cursive and they were attached to the other side of the suitcase. 

Here is a student sample...

This was BY FAR one of my favorite units to teach this year!  It was interactive and fun.  This activity really helped my students that need that movement throughout the day to stay focused and productive.  I was so impressed with how well they all did.

So I hope this gave you some ideas on teaching about American Symbols and Landmarks!

This year I am adding a bit of an assessment piece to this unit!  They will complete my NEW U.S. Symbols Flip-Flap Book to demonstrate the knowledge they gained throughout the unit!

This is what each page of the U.S. Symbols Flip-Flap book looks like! I am so excited to add this assessment piece to the mix!  FUN! FUN!  FUN!

If you are interested in these units, check them out in my TPT Store.

Click the pictures below to get there!

Well...that's all for now :) 

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