Presidents' Day: Celebrating the Gifts from our Leaders

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new
nation, conceived in Liberty, and
dedicated to the proposition
that all men are
created equal.
~Abraham Lincoln
Just think how Abraham Lincoln's words and leadership impacted our country and the path that it would take. Knowing our history and understanding the contributions each of our leaders has made starting with Washington is so important for ourselves as well as it is for our students. To help you out, today's Thematic Thursday post will include a collection of ideas for you to use as we approach and celebrate Presidents' Day.

To begin, I want to share two books that I feel give a pretty decent synopsis of Washington and Lincoln's presidencies. I looked at quite a few that honed in on a specific period of their lives, but these told the full story in a way that I think young readers can understand. George Washington's Teeth tells about the various stages in his life as he loses his teeth, and Abe Lincoln Loved Animals explains Lincoln's life as well as his love of his pets. Did you know that a turkey is pardoned each year because Lincoln just couldn't shoot a turkey for Thanksgiving. He was also broken hearted about leaving his dog, Fido, in Illinois when the family traveled to the the White House. 

I also loved the book, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek. It tells more about his life as a boy, and I think many kids would enjoy hearing some of the silly stories.

Finally, Abe Lincoln's Hat is a nice one to show that even this great leaders had trouble with organization. I think it's great for showing that you don't have to be perfect to have wonderful ideas.

To honor George Washington, two of my favorites are John, Paul, George, & Ben and George vs George. Both give a great explanation of the history.

If you're working with biographies, I also recommend the picture books by David Adler (A Picture Book of  Abraham Lincoln and A Picture Book of George Washington). You can easily find one for each of the presidents for class research work.

In my store, I have recently added this resource for Presidents' Day. It included guided reading materials for George Washington's Teeth and Abraham Lincoln Loved Animals. There are youtube read alouds for both of these books as well as a few of the others I shared. It also includes a lapbook that explores both presidents further. Students can extend their learning about these men with other biographies, the encyclopedia, or nonfiction from your library. Finally, it includes a class book option where students write about what they would do if they were the president. It has a cover with it and can be bound for the kids to read later or for parents to view as they're waiting for your next conference.


There are many activity options for Presidents' Day. on Pinterest as well as on Teachers Pay Teachers. I started the board below, and I'll continue to add to it with other freebies and ideas. I just love some of the great art options that you can tie in with any writing project.
Follow Comprehension's board President's Day on Pinterest.
From this board, there are a few activities and blog posts that I want to highlight. They are linked to the original URL.

Presidents' Day
The first is from my friend, Sandy over at Sweet Integration. She just created this adorable resource for students to explore being president for the day. You must hop over and grab this great little freebie from her store.

In the second photo is from Classroom Compulsion. I think this idea is so adorable, and I think honestly it could be modified to include other presidents as well. With a change in hair color or clothing shapes.
The third choice was not linked unfortunately, but I think the idea could be recreated without much difficulty. You could have your students record facts they've learned, pretend to be either George or Abe and describe their day, or write about their achievements as president. 

Picture Books About Presidents  Elections from No Time for Flash Cards: The last pin is handy as we're gearing up for an election year. I love learning about new books, and I thought this pin would be a great one to share in case you'd like to weave in the discussion of voting and elections. Grace for President is one I've used with my students,and it is nicely done. Of course, Duck for President may be a great comparison book too. No matter which you choose, hopefully you'll get great discussion about what qualities we'd all want for our leader. 
For tech resources, I am going to share a few youtube links to the books I mentioned earlier.  I know we all like to mix things up, and sometimes, a video read aloud may work better for showing the pictures, right? Just click on the book images below.
What do you have planned for Presidents' Day? Please share your ideas below in the comments. Better yet, let's link up!  Just grab the image at the top of the page for your post and add the link below. Pressed for time but have a free resource to share?  You can add that link in the linky below too. Have a great week!

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