American Presidents

James A. Garfield American Presidents Teacher Guide

A President's Life: James A. Garfield
July 26, 1999 on C-SPAN
Recommended Use:
Primary Level

This Teacher Guide was developed by Vincetta Dooner, a second grade teacher at Coventry Elementary School in Cleveland Heights- University Heights, Ohio where C-SPAN is provided by Cablevision.

1. Students will make a time line of President Garfield's life using dates and visual images.
2. Students will learn how to read a time line for information.


  • Chalk
  • Chalk board
  • Empty shoeboxes
  • Crayons
  • Pencils/markers
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors, glue
  • President Garfield Chart

1. Introduce concept: A time line shows the order in which events occur.

2. Using the Internet and library resources, students will take complete notes on facts, dates and events during President Garfield's life. Site suggestion: James A. Garfield's web page on C-SPAN's American Presidents web site

3. Assign each student a diorama to create based on events in President Garfield's life as outlined in the chart above. Test students' understanding of the time line by placing the students' dioramas at the front of the room and have students volunteer to arrange the exhibits in the correct order.

4. Students will now create their own time lines of President Garfield's life using additional information gathered in step two. Students should leave room for their own illustrations when they create their time lines. After students put dates and key words on paper, they may illustrate their time lines.

Instruct students to explain their time lines with use of illustrations and reference citations. Why did the student choose specific dates in the president's life? Why does the student consider these dates to be significant? Why did the student choose to draw a particular visual to illustrate a date or period in President Garfield's life?

After the students have given their time line presentations, discuss the similairities and differences in the dates chosen by the students in their time lines.

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