Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Inauguration Day Activities Across the Grades and Content Areas from the NYC DOE

The New York City Department of Education has put together a fantastic 18-page compilation of activities and resources you can use on Inauguration Day (January 20) by clicking on the brochure cover.

The guide is divided by grade level (elementary, middle, high school) and into the areas of social studies, ELA, art, and technology. The guide was created to support teachers in challenging students to think creatively about what this historic day means for their future and the future of our country. The resource bank includes a full schedule of Inauguration Weekend and Inauguration Day activities.

Activity highlights include:


If I were Malia or Sasha Obama…

Subject/Skill: ELA, Social Studies—journal activity

Activity Summary: Malia Obama told her dad that she plans on sitting at the desk of President Abraham Lincoln when she does her homework! Imagine how your life would be different if you lived at the White House. What might you like about living in the White House, and what might you dislike? If you were Malia, 10, or Sasha Obama, 7, and could give a speech about how to improve children's lives, what are three ideas you would include?

Dear President Obama…

Subject/Skill: ELA, Social Studies

Activity Summary: Write a letter to the new president either as a class or individually. In your letter, include the goals you would like to see President Obama achieve and your best wishes to the president and his family. You can mail your letters to the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500.

Resources: For a more detailed lesson plan from Education World, follow this link. Also, visit the White House official contact information page.


Inaugural Pennants

Subject/Skill: Social Studies, Arts

Activity Summary: Design a souvenir pennant for the 2009 inauguration. Study pennants designed for previous inaugurations. What symbols will you use that reflect what President Obama’s presidency will bring?

Resources: Examples of souvenir pennants from past inauguration events are available at the Education World site here.

Inaugural Discussions on Voki

Subject/Skill: Social Studies, ELA, Technology

Activity Summary: Encourage students to write and deliver an inaugural address or comment on President-elect Obama’s address using Voki. Students create avatars representing themselves and interact with other students in their school communities.

Resources: Voki enables students to express themselves on the web using a talking character. Students can customize their Voki to look like and/or take on the identity of many other types of human and nonhuman characters. Vokis can speak with the student’s own voice which is added via microphone, upload, or phone. Students can also choose to insert text and have the Voki use a variety of existing voices with more than a dozen different male and female accents to choose from. Once the student Voki’s are created, they can be inserted into a class blog, wiki, website, and more. From there the school community can comment on and discuss one another’s work and keep the conversation going.


Exploring President Obama’s Cabinet

Subject/Skill: Social Studies

Activity Summary: President-elect Obama is convening one of the most diverse cabinets in United States history. Find more information about the cabinet members who have been selected. Why do you think they have been selected? What kinds of experience do they bring to their roles? Why do you think the new president has convened such a diverse cabinet? What might this say about his vision or leadership style? Why do you think that this is an important change? What other cabinet positions have been filled? How many members make up a president’s cabinet and what are their key responsibilities? Are there some cabinet positions that have more prominence or importance than others? Why? Find out about the importance of the president’s cabinet regarding the line of succession. If you could be Cabinet Secretary, which post would you choose and why? What would you set as your top priorities?

Resources: For the most up-to-date information regarding President-elect Obama’s cabinet appointments, please see the CBS News website here.

Inauguration Interview

Subject/Skill: ELA, Social Studies

Activity Summary: If you were able to interview President Obama for your school newspaper, what are the five most important questions you would ask? What do students at your school most want to know about President Obama?

Resources: A detailed lesson plan for this activity can be found at Education World.

For the full bank of activities visit

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