Not surprisingly, there's a wealth of information about Abraham Lincoln on the Web. Students of all ages will learn from six great sites; among them are sites created by a high school history teacher, the White House, and a class of first graders. Included: Activities to engage students for each site!
To celebrate and learn from Abraham Lincoln's birthday in your classroom -- and to develop your students' computer savvy -- turn to the Internet. We've selected some of the premier Lincoln sites on the WWW and devised engaging activities based on them. Here are the sites!
The natural place to start an exploration of any president is the The Presidents of the United States Web page, part of the official White House Web site. Click on Abraham Lincoln in the list of presidents, read the short bio, and check out the links to Lincoln's inaugural addresses, familiar quotations, and a bio of Mary Todd Lincoln.
Activity (all grades): A timeline of the presidents This activity will familiarize students with the names of all the U.S. presidents. Create a simple timeline showing the decades from 1780 to 2000. Invite students to print and cut out the pictures of the presidents from the White House Web pages and to attach each picture to the timeline to show when each president was inaugurated.
Activity (grades 4 and up): Learn about the presidents Use the Learn About the Presidents teaching master with this activity. Challenge students to match the ten presidents' names on the teaching master with an interesting fact about each.
TEACHING MASTER ANSWERS: 1. Andrew Johnson; 2. Herbert Hoover; 3. Harry S. Truman; 4. John Quincy Adams; 5. Thomas Jefferson; 6. Theodore Roosevelt; 7. Franklin D. Roosevelt; 8. John F. Kennedy; 9. Abraham Lincoln; 10. George Washington.
The next Web site on our list, aptly titled Abraham Lincoln, was a project developed by Tammy Payton's first grade class in West Loogootee, Indiana. Each year, Payton's class visits Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Memorial at Lincoln City, Indiana. This Web site is based on information students learned on their field trip. It's really quite an amazing site; students of all ages will learn something new here!
Your students might begin their study of Honest Abe with the online Lincoln quiz developed by Payton's students. Then, don't miss the students' picture gallery, the online treasure hunt, and the great classroom activities, of which the following is one:
Activity (all grades): Lincoln Word Web Introduce your new unit about Abraham Lincoln by creating a word web of facts. Have your children brainstorm what they already know and organize their knowledge on a large sheet of butcher paper. Next, have your class read a book about Lincoln together. Save your discussion about the book until you've finished. [Payton recommends Just Like Abraham Lincoln, written and illustrated by Bernard Waber (Scholastic, 1964), for primary students.] After introducing and reading the book, have your children brainstorm all of the new facts that they've learned about Lincoln from this story. Using a different colored magic marker, add the new facts to the word web. Children enjoy comparing and contrasting which facts they knew initially to those that they discover as the unit progresses. Using different colored magic markers helps the children see their knowledge grow!
The Abraham Lincoln Research Site, compiled by a former U.S. history teacher, includes an offer to research specific questions about Lincoln. It also provides an excellent, concise summary of Abraham Lincoln's life titled "Especially for Students;" Lincoln's favorite poem; a collection of authentic quotes from Lincoln; a page on Lincoln's assassination; the only photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg; an account of the attempt to steal Lincoln's body from his tomb; an examination of the theory that a ghost haunts the Lincoln bedroom in the White House; pages on Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd, and their four sons; and much, much more. Of special interest might be a page featuring a list of Lincoln's failures, which demonstrates that every accomplished person isn't an instant success.
Activity (grades 5 and up): Create a nontrivial trivia game On the site, click Especially for Students. Invite students to read the summary of Lincoln's life and take notes on events that they find interesting or important. Then divide students into pairs to work on writing questions about his biography. The goal should be for each team to devise five questions. When each team has developed its questions, have the teams take turns asking one another the questions. If you wish, you can assign points for correct answers and make sure each team has a chance to answer the same number of questions.
The Lincoln Gallery is a pictorial history of Abraham Lincoln published by the first grade of Berwick Academy in South Berwick, Maine. Click on any of the students' drawings to learn more about Lincoln's boyhood, his early years in politics, and his presidency. The Lincoln Gallery includes a page detailing how the class made its Web site.
Activity (grades 1-6): Publish pictures and writing Have students research Abraham Lincoln's life by reading library and Internet resources about our 16th president. (You might explore picture books and read a short biography to younger students.) When the reading is completed, invite students to draw pictures and write prose or poetry about Lincoln. Work may be submitted to The Lincoln Gallery via email or snail mail for posting on the site. You might also have students self-publish a book by compiling their drawings and writings. Display the class book in the school library for others to read.
Activity (all grades): Make a Lincoln timeline Have students read the Lincoln information found on this site and others -- along with picture books and biographies of Lincoln -- to create a timeline of important events in Lincoln's life. If you wish, have students illustrate the timeline with their own drawings.
Abraham Lincoln Online is a vast resource that includes Lincoln resources and educational links as well. For example, a feature called "Lincoln This Week" tells what Lincoln was doing on each date of the current week. The site also provides Lincoln's speeches and writings, historic places associated with Lincoln (including his tomb, original law offices, and the only home the Lincolns owned), and a listing of books about Lincoln.
Activity (grades 5 and up): Write a proclamation On the site, click on Speeches & Writings, then Lincoln's Writings. Next, go to Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863. Read aloud to students Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving, which made Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. Give students time to study the proclamation themselves, and then discuss what it says and means. (There are a number of difficult words students may not know.) Then challenge individuals or teams of students to write proclamations for their own national holiday(s) -- a day that isn't now a holiday, but one they would like to create. Invite students to share their proclamations with the class.
Sophisticated Shirts is a somewhat commercial Web site that offers a collection of 50 "artistic, scholarly" T-shirts and sweatshirts. It also provides the jumping off point for an activity that will spark students' imaginations.
Activity (grades 3 and up): Design a Lincoln T-shirt. View an Abraham Lincoln T-shirt. Have students read what's written on the Lincoln shirt. First, on the front, there is his famous quote: "A House divided against itself cannot stand." The entire text of the Gettysburg address is on the back. Tell students they will create their own Abraham Lincoln T-shirts. Brainstorm with the class to develop some ideas for words that might go on the front of the shirt and on the back. Then have each student draw the front and back of a T-shirt. If you wish, ask students to bring in white T-shirts from home, and extend the activity into an art project in which they use markers to make actual T-shirts.
This Web site offers extensive links to online material about Lincoln. The material includes a portrait of Lincoln, the texts of the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln's inaugural addresses, familiar quotations, and much more.
This list of links is part of the Abraham Lincoln Web site developed by Tammy Payton's first graders in West Looggootee, Indiana -- which isn't far from Lincoln's boyhood memorial.
Article by Sharon Cromwell
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Last updated 02/14/2012