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How Well Do You Know Your Presidents?

Presidents.jpgNext Monday, February 15th, is President’s Day. For me, it can be one of those holidays that is easy to forget even exists, but as a teacher, President’s Day can offer a wealth of learning opportunities. Here at Big Universe, there are plenty of great text resources to engage your readers in about the United States’ great leaders. However, I found the whimsy of Weird But True Facts About U.S. Presidents to be one of the most engaging and eye-opening. I learned quite a bit, and your students could too.

Quite simply, the book offers a treasure trove of brow-raising facts paired with quirky illustration. It’s an easy read for all levels of readers, and would be a great fit for any older, elementary students. I highly recommend you check it out, and then contemplate some of the ideas below for using it in your classroom:

  • Create a scavenger hunt! Students love a good challenge, so why not create a worksheet that sends them on a literary, fact-finding one? Create scavenger hunt questions either asking them seek out “What does the ‘S’ stand for in Harry S. Truman’s name?” (Apparently, it’s nothing!) or “Who was the only president to have a patented invention?” (Abraham Lincoln). You could even turn it into a full-fledged, scavenging competition with teams. Which, believe me, kids will really get into!
  • Design fact posters! The book’s facts are organized into different sections, so if you are crunched for time, but want a more hands-on activity, why not divvy up the sections to different groups of students? Then have your students record what they thought were the most interesting facts while they read, and design a poster to hang in the classroom, so other students can learn some of those facts too.
  • Author your own fact book. After reading the book in your class, you could have students see if they could research even more unique facts about presidents and create their own book. This activity would work well individually or in partners and will lend itself to helping students practice great research skills, along with fostering creativity!

No matter how you decide to approach President’s Day in your classroom, I hope you take a look at this book. I think you and your students will find it as engaging as I did. I definitely will not be forgetting about President’s Day this year, or that George Washington once spent $200 on ice cream in a single summer!

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