American Presidents

American Presidents Teacher Guide and Classroom Results:
What I Learned About Franklin Pierce

Mrs. Annis' and Mr. Sullivan's fourth grade students at Kimball School in Concord, NH studied President Franklin Pierce this past school year. Mr. Sullivan's students viewed C-SPAN's American Presidents Program featuring Franklin Pierce as a part of their research. This Teacher Guide is based on classroom projects produced by both classes.

View Kimball School student projects on President Franklin Pierce.

Teacher Guide
Before Viewing American Presidents
Create a KWL chart for students to assess their prior knowledge of the president(s) your class is (are) studying.

Know: What do you already know about this person? What are some facts you know about this person's life? presidency? accomplishments? history of the time in which he lived?

Want: What do you want to learn about this president? What questions do you have about this president? What myths or rumors would you like to investigate? What do you want to learn?

Learn: This portion of your KWL chart will be completed after you finish researching this president, and reported in a project of your choice. What do you want to learn about this president?

While Viewing American Presidents
Directions: Complete the following chart with information from the program. Add additional categories of information based on the "W" column in your KWL chart.

1. Childhood:

2. Family:

3. Early Career:

4. Campaigns:

5. The Presidency:

6. Post-presidential Years:

7. Accomplishments:

8. Legacy:

9. Quotations:

10. Other:

After Viewing American Presidents
Choose one of the projects below (or create a project of your own) to complete after viewing C-SPAN's American Presidents Series.

1. Picture Book: Write a picture book about the life of the president, for an audience of young children. Decide which details and events from the president's life to include, and how to depict them in illustrations.

2. Poetry: Respond to what you learned by writing a poem. Choose a significant event from the life of the president and describe it in a poem: present a visual image of an event, such as George Washington delivering his farewell address, Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, or James A. Garfield's assassination.

3. Letter to the President: Respond to the ideas and issues by writing a letter to the president. Write in the persona of a contemporary of the president, or write the letter from the point of view of a modern person confronting the people and issues of the past. Read some letters of the presidents posted on the American Presidents web site to prepare for this project.

4. Class Debate: Identify some important issues in a president's administration. Complete additional research in the media center and using the Internet. Choose positions on the issue, then divide the class into two teams to debate based on their research.

5. Poster: Create a poster commemorating the president. Include pictures or graphics, important quotes, and extended paragraphs that summarize the accomplishments of the president.

6. Research Assignment: Create a short report or complete a more extensive research assignment making connections between the president's life and his presidency.

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