Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ideas for Active Viewing by Students While Watching the Inauguration

I’ve posted a variety of Inauguration lessons and ideas for innovative educators to use with their students, but what about on the actual day of the Inauguration? Innovative educators know that when Inauguration day comes you don’t want to have your students passively watching this historic event. Active, engaged, focused viewing is the key. To that end, I’ve come up with a few ideas to ensure we are engaging students and stimulating their minds with active viewing activities. Here they are.

Student Reporters

Put together a post-inaugural newspaper, or blog at your school with reports from students. Work with students, groups, or classes, to determine various angles to cover i.e. the weather, the children, the balls, the fashion. Have them do research in advance and while they are watching the inauguration have them take notes for their stories. Following the inauguration have students discuss their pieces and publish their work.

Resource: Writing: Newspaper Articles

Call to Service

Barack Obama has launched a national organizing effort on the eve of their Inauguration to engage Americans in service. This national day of service will fall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 19, 2009 and, unlike past calls to service, President-elect Obama is calling on all Americans to do more than just offer a single day of service to their cities, towns and neighborhoods. He is asking all of us to make an ongoing commitment to our communities. When watching the inauguration, have your students think, “What is one thing that the president speaks about on which you think you can have an impact? How might you accomplish this?”

Resource: - This website is designed to help Americans make their commitments to service, build communities, find opportunities to serve and share their results. These can be events that engage people in direct service, or bring people together to determine how they can commit to becoming more engaged citizens.

Four-Column Chart

Use this four column chart for a more open viewing experience. Prior to watching the event share this chart with your students. At the top of each column have students brainstorm unique headings for what they’ll be looking for when they view the event i.e. favorite quotes, people I recognize, what surprised me, what am I excited about, what people are wearing, etc. Once students are viewing the inauguration have them fill in their charts. Following the event have students discuss what they found and write an overview of their findings from the one column they found most interesting. For educators in technology-rich schools, consider posting this on a blog or wiki.

Resource: You can download a Four-Column Chart here.

Timeline of Events

As students are watching the event have them record the timeline of events. What occurred and when? What is the significance of each? On the top of the chart they can write the event. Underneath they can summarize their reflection on the event. Prior to the Inauguration you can have students practice this activity by doing this watching another Inaugural speech. After the event you can have students compare and contrast the timelines and note the significance of differences and similiarities.

Resources: You can download a Time Line Chart here or a Time-Order Chart here.

HotChalk is providing 25 FREE high-quality video clips on U.S. inaugural addresses. Check them out here.

Text Reporter

You can Text HISTORY to 56333 for the Latest Inauguration Info. As part the Presidential Inauguration Committee’s commitment to hosting the most open and accessible inauguration in history, they are offering a variety of resources via SMS text message to keep people in the know about inaugural activities. Assign a student or student groups to follow the inauguration and keep their school up-to-date using text messaging.

Resources: Text HISTORY to 56333 today or sign up for text message updates on our website. Also, be sure to take a look at the following options, for more about event updates, scheduling changes, preparation tips, weather reports, DC transportation, and President-elect Obama’s Renew America Together initiative.

• Text SCHDL to 56333 for latest updates and breaking announcements and any schedule changes.

• Text TIPS to 56333 for information on how to prepare for Inauguration

Estimate the Cost

How much do you think the Inauguration costs? There are salaries to secure the president, sanitation, food, general security, inaugural ball. Think of ongoing costs verses costs for this event.

Resource: Do a Google search for “Presidential Inauguration Cost.”

KWL Chart

Have students identify what they know, what they want to know and what they have learned about the Inauguration and President Obama.

Resource: You can download a KWL Chart here.

Thought Provoking Questions

The presidential inaugural committee produced the following questions to have students reflect on when watching the inauguration.

· "What vision does President Obama have for public education?"

· "What does he say divides us as a country and how does he want to unify and strengthen America?"

· "How will President Obama make our country more secure?"

· "What does President Obama ask Americans to do to help strengthen the country?"

You may want to have chart paper or sentence strips posted around the room with this questions. Students can have post its where they record the answers and place them on the walls with their reflections.

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