iCivics celebrates President’s Day

February 15, 2013

Ah President’s day. According to the federal government the holiday is meant to commemorate George Washington’s birthday. Yet the day has come to honor the office of the presidency, not just our first president. No surprise here, but we’re all about using digital resources to teach and get your students excited about civic knowledge. So we’ve picked out our favorites to help you celebrate our nation’s leaders in your classroom.

The History Channel’s website offers forty-nine short-length videos on the United States’ most popular presidents. Because of the length of these clips, they can be easily integrated into your President’s Day lesson plan and they offer up fun and little-known facts about our country’s leaders.

If your students can handle a longer-length feature film, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is up for a flurry of awards this awards season. It will no doubt pick up plenty as well as win your students over as well for it’s dramatic impact. Less bio-pic and more in-depth look at the passing of the 13th amendment, this 2012 film is an important depiction of President Lincoln’s role in this critical time  in our nation’s history.  

Now the film’s producers in association with Participant Media have announced they will be distributing the film to all middle and high schools, both public and private, in the country. Teachers will have access to a DVD package that will include lesson plans and discussion tips on how to get your students meaningfully discussing and debating the themes of the movie.

Do you students enjoy and retain more information when a catchy beat is involved? Then check out this song from educationalrap.com. If your students need that extra visual hook, check out the video here. For those who enjoy the Animaniacs’ take on educational topics, try their wacky president’s song.

iCivics has two games about the office of the presidency. Executive Command gives your students the chance to be President for a four-year term and Win the White House shows students what it takes to run for office and get there!

Other Digital Resources
American Presidents: Life Portraits is a wonderful collection of videos, images of presidential portraits, and details on presidential gravesites. The site is a companion to C-SPAN’s series which was the winner of a Peabody Award.

For those teachers that are searching for primary resources, this letter from George Washington reveals his active engagement in shaping the young nation. Through this website, students can read and analyze the letter along with photographs depicting the United States' nascent years.

We hope you take the time to explore these resources and more. President’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the pivotal role our nation’s leaders have played in building this great democracy!