Lesson Plan : Choosing Presidents

Teacher Name:
 C. Abt
Grade:
 Grade 5
Subject:
 Social Studies

Topic:
 This is a Social Studies lesson focusing on government. More specifically, it examines the traits/qualities that are best for a leader of our nation.
Content:
 This purpose of this lesson is to help fifth grade students explore the concept of what makes a person a good leader. It is a Social Studies lesson focusing on government. The lesson approach will use information the students are learning about presidents and the presidential election process. The students will culminate the project with a Power Point presentation showing the results of their inquiry study. The lesson falls under the National and New York State Social Studies learning standards. It is being taught to add to the students schema gained in 1st through 4th grade in discussions of Presidents' Day and presidential elections, plus further explore the topic in 7th grade, leading to the New York State 8th grade comprehensive Social Studies test. In addition, it falls within the New York State ELA standards (NYS ELA, 1998), the national ELA standards (International Reading Association & National Council of Teachers of English (1996) (IRA & NCTE), for reading, writing, listening and speaking. Therefore, it fits within the cross-curricular push for literacy under ELA. The lesson plan also falls within the the technology foundation standards for students (ISTE NETS, 2000), thus helping ensure that students are technologically proficient by 8th grade as found in NCLB. The instructional model will be Information Processing using the techniques of Guided Inquiry and Networks (webbing and graphic organizer). The lesson will help students to ask their own questions to find out about the world. Key Vocabulary: President, presidential election, trait/quality, values, and characteristics.
Goals:
 Goal: Fifth grade students will use technology and traditional print to explore the concept of what makes a good president. Goal: Fifth grade students will understand the use of inquiry learning.
Objectives:
 Students will tackle what makes a good presidential candidate and leader. Using blank question webs and Internet resources on presidents; the student, by working in groups of two or three, will pick three presidents and list four traits/qualities that each president had that made him a good presidential leader. - Given the completed question webs, the student, by working in groups of two or three, will synthesize in writing the information, and then individually create a Power Point presentation of at least five slides, that lists five traits/qualities of a good presidential leader with at least two written reasons backing up each trait/quality choice taken form the inquiry research.
Materials:
 Books (including, but not limited to, "My Teacher for President", biographies of U.S. Presidents), web sites (www.americanpresident.org; http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/glance.htm; http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/election_countdown/news/index.asp?; www.civiced.org/k4erica ; www.whitehouse.gov/kids ; www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ ; www.americanpresidents.org; http://www.worldalmanacforkids.com/explore/presidents.html ; http://ap.grolier.com/browse?type=profiles#pres), large white board, SMART board, floppy disc or CD-Rom for each child, clipboards, blank question webs on word processor (see attachments), Microsoft Office for Teachers & Students Power Point program, pencils, Group Work Rubric (see attachments), SMART board, lap tops, and P.C.s connected to Internet; sufficient time blocked out in the computer lab for research and creating the Power Point presentations.
Introduction:
 I will begin the lesson by gathering the class in the meeting area and telling them I have an enjoyable story to share them. Then I will read aloud ¡§My Teacher for President¡¨ by Kay Winters, illustrated by Denise Brunkus. (This book deserves a Caldecott Award because its pictures match its words perfectly. It is brightly illustrated and a quick, fun, read that shows how one child understands what character traits make a good president. Although it is written for a younger audience, this is a quick read, that gets the point of character traits/qualities across in a fun relatable to each students life.) After reading the book with expression, I will ask the class if I, like the teacher (a female) in the book, could ever be president of the U.S. (Possible responses: Sure, as long as you're old enough." Or, "Where were you born?" Or, "No, you're a woman." Then I will say depending on the previous responses, "Great, take my word for it, I'm old enough so I meet that requirement, or rule, for becoming president. Does anyone remember the other two rules?¡¨ (Possible responses: ¡§Its right on our poster, ¡§Born in the U.S. and to be a U.S. citizen for the past 14 years.¡¨) I will respond: ¡§Wow, you remembered correctly (or where to look), you guys are truly serious learners. One of the requirements is being born in the U.S. I was born in the U.S., right next door to New York, in New Jersey. Hmmm, do you have to be a male to be president? Anyone want to help with this question?¡¨ (Possible answer: ¡§No, its not on the poster.¡¨ Or ¡§No, there is no gender requirement.¡¨) ¡§Great, you are right, our poster we put up last week about becoming president doesn't mention male or female. You simply have to be over 35 years of age; you have to be born in the United States; and you have to be a United States citizen for the past 14 years.¡¨ Next, I will say: "Now, that brings us to a question I'd like you to help me try and answer; it's also the reason we read that wonderful book." The question is, "What makes a good president? What traits/qualities make a person fit in your opinion to be the leader of our country? You're going to be detectives, and look through history to find your own answers. So put on your imaginary detective hats and trench coats and let's begin!"
Development:
 (Instructional Model: IPM. Strategy: Guided Inquiry.) First, I will tell the students that they are breaking into small groups chosen by me [note: the groups will be chosen beforehand to ensure that each group has a strong reader, each group has only one struggling reader, and to avoid combinations of students who when put together tend to get off task], that will act as detective squads, looking for clues from the past for what traits/qualities make a good president. I will then announce the groups and have the students move about in the meeting area to sit in their groups, but remain facing the teacher and the SMART board. I will then tell the students they need to choose one person in their group to do the following jobs: 1) a recorder; 2) a reporter/group voice; and 3) a research guide (read aloud to the others in the group from text and media sources). Then I will explain that with each job come a duty, going over each job and its duties. I will give the groups three minutes to decide who will take the jobs for that day, explaining that they can alternate jobs during the project. Next, each group will receive a packet consisting of a list of web sites (including: www.americanpresident.org; http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/glance.htm; http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/election_countdown/news/index.asp?; www.civiced.org/k4erica ; www.whitehouse.gov/kids ; www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ ; www.americanpresidents.org; http://www.worldalmanacforkids.com/explore/presidents.html ; and http://ap.grolier.com/browse?type=profiles#pres ), a blank CD-Rom or floppy disk, Rubrics for group work and the Power Point presentation (see attached). While still in the meeting area I will go over the packets with the groups and what they need to fill out to help them answer the puzzle/question. Then, I will say to the students: ¡§Now, can someone raise their hand and tell me what you are going to do for this project?¡¨ (Possible response: ¡§We have to research what made different presidents good at their job.¡¨ ¡§We have to fill out a question web on the computer for three different presidents, and put in five traits of why they were good at it." "We have to be a team." Then I'll say: "Wonderful, now remember a team talks everything through, and comes up with the answer together. I'm going to come around while you are working to see if you have any questions, if everyone is working together, questioning each other, listening, and contributing." I'll say: "Thumbs up if you think there is no wrong answer to my question of "What makes a good leader/president?" After the thumbs go up, I'll continue. "If your thumb is up you are correct, there is no wrong answer. I'm asking you for your opinion. Remember, there are only three strict rules that must be followed for who can be president, all the other qualities are up to each of us. So, who wants to give us an idea of a good trait for a president/leader? (Possible responses: "Honesty." Or, "Not telling lies.") I'll respond: "Do you know of a president who didn't tell lies?' (Possible responses: 'Abraham Lincoln.' 'George Washington'. Then I'll ask: ¡§Would being a good dancer be a quality that would make someone a good leader/president?¡¨ (Possible response: 'No way.' 'No, it has to be something that helps other people.' Then I'll say: 'Ah, so the fact that Thomas Jefferson was supposed to be a wonderful dancer isn't the reason he was a good leader? Then what would be a good reason?¡¨ (Possible response: ¡§He was really smart.¡¨ ¡§We read yesterday he went to Harvard, he was extremely smart.¡¨ Then I will say: ¡§Which presidents have we read about so far?¡¨ (Possible responses: Washington, Lincoln, Bush, Clinton, F.D.R., and Jefferson.) I'll continue: 'Well, this afternoon, we're going to put our detective hats on and look for evidence of what makes a good president/leader using those very same people and others. You can find their character traits and things about them in the books we have in the classroom and school library, web sites listed in your packets (www.americanpresident.org; http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/glance.htm; http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/election_countdown/news/index.asp?; www.civiced.org/k4erica ; www.whitehouse.gov/kids ; www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ ; www.americanpresidents.org; http://www.worldalmanacforkids.com/explore/presidents.html ; and http://ap.grolier.com/browse?type=profiles#pres), and the newspaper articles some of you brought in to share with the class. I know what fabulous detectives you are, so let's get started!¡¨
Practice:
 Guided Inquiry: The students will take their packets consisting of a list of web sites or floppy disk, Rubrics for group work and the Power Point presentation (see attached), and begin to solve the puzzle. While the children work in their groups, I will go around and scaffold as needed, prompting, checking for understanding by asking questions, making sure the students are on task. For example, I will be checking to see if the students are actively asking each other questions; researching, discussing and answering my question, and their own questions; and filling out the three question webs. More specifically, I'll ask if they have picked one of the presidents for each web, and who they chose. I'll inquire as to the resources they are looking at to figure out the puzzle of which traits/qualities to include. If they don't know where to look, I'll remind them to look at the presidential book display and bucket of president books we have in the classroom (some belonging to the class and others from the school library), to check the web sites (see above), and the newspaper articles some of them brought in to share with the class. I will clear up any misunderstandings about how to fill out the webs. When a group has their question webs completed I will conference with them to check to see that everything is filled in on all three question webs. I'll ask if everyone agrees with the traits/qualities they chose for each president. Then I'll go over the directions for creating the Power Point presentation. They will then move on to the Independent Practice stage.
Accommodations:
 I provide for the struggling reader by placing only one in each group so that they can learn from a more learned other, and so that they can receive positive role modeling from stronger readers. For the student with motor difficulties, they can be the reporter/group voice, or a research guide. The P.C. and lap top ensure all can type out their responses if speaking or handwriting is difficult. Also for students with fine motor difficulties a Voice Recognition program can help the student create word documents and a scribe can help transfer the information to the Power Point presentation. As to the ELL student, the website on the White House and Administration is in both English and Spanish, plus books in the room are geared toward ELL students.
Checking For Understanding:
 Evaluation: Diagnostic: I will determine how much knowledge the students have about what qualifications and traits/qualities are necessary to be president at the beginning of class by posing the question after reading the book ¡§My Teacher For President¡¨, ¡§Could the teacher in the book or I ever be president?¡¨ I will check to see if they remember the three qualifications/rules they learned the week before about becoming president. During development I'll ask for examples from the book of what traits/qualities the narrator thought his teacher had that made her a good potential leader. Formative: I will assess students' ability to use webs to record information they find and ideas on the concept of what makes a good leader/president. This will be done while the students are working in teams by my going around to each group and checking to see that the webs are filled in with appropriate answers in each of the ovals. In addition, I will check the webs when they are completed during my conference with each team. I will assess how well the groups work together to find an answer to the question/puzzle by using a Group Work Rubric (see attachments) by walking around the room during the lesson and actively listening to the groups interact. Summative: I will assess the students' Power Point presentations (see attached Rubric), as to whether they have five traits/qualities that make a good leader/president and at least on reason for choosing that trait/quality found in the present and/or past president(s).
Closure:
 I will ask each student to present their Power Point presentation to the whole class. I will ask how they chose the presidents (past and/or present) used to choose the traits/qualities they feel make a good leader.
Evaluation:
 Reflection: (Critique of Lesson) - Was the Anticipatory Set delivered successfully? Did the children understand the question/puzzle? Did the book focus them and motivate them for new learning? Did they get the point that each of them chooses what qualities or traits are important for a leader/president? Was the puzzle clear, and challenging enough for the students? - Was my development helpful for creating a way for the students to answer the question/puzzle for themselves? Was my example of how to fill out a question web helpful? Did my modeling help the students fill out the webs on their own? - Did I give the students enough guided inquiry? Did I create guided inquiry that made the students enthusiastic for figuring out what traits/qualities they think are important for a leader/president? Did I make the exercise fun as well as a learning experience? - Did I give the students a chance to ask questions, and did I give responses that helped them understand that there was no right or wrong answer to the question, that their opinions count? - Was the Rubric for Power Point presentation evaluation fair? Did it evaluate the objective fairly and accurately? - Was the closure accurate and challenging? Did I give the students a chance to show what they learned in the lesson? - Did the students enjoy using the web sites I chose to help them with the inquiry? Were the web sites "reader friendly" enough for all ability groups? - Did I make the Power Point presentation project an enjoyable activity for the students? Did they feel comfortable using this software?

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