Obama Is Inaugurated! Make This a Teaching Moment!
Americans and citizens around the world celebrated joyously yesterday as they witnessed yet another peaceful transfer of power. Nearly two billion people braved the freezing cold in Washington, D.C., so they could be a part of this historic moment—the inauguration of our country’s first African American president, Barack Obama. Though the work crews are now removing the barricades from Pennsylvania Avenue and the balloons from city ballrooms, now remains a perfect time to continue our dialog about American history and politics.
How do we discuss this moment with our children? How do we make it real?
Read and Review Different Resources With Children
Start with The Horn Book’s recommended books about American presidents. Their list includes picture books, as well as books for intermediate and young adult readers. All books on this list were published within the last several years. Check it out at: The Horn Book Monthly Special: American Presidents.
Another excellent resource to consult regarding the presidency, politics, and American history is the NCBLA’s art and literary anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Our White House seeks to build on logical links between literacy, historical literacy, and civic engagement. Coordinating activities and discussion suggestions, as well as additional articles, are available on the book's supplemental website: ourwhitehouse.org.
Enter the "Letters from the White House" Writing Contest!
You can actively engage young people in a very meaningful way by having them participate in the national creative writing contest, Letters from the White House, which is sponsored by the NCBLA, Reading Rockets, and AdLit.org.
To enter the contest, students write letters and journal entries that explore the history of America and tap into their own creativity when they imagine and write about the experience of living or working in the executive mansion. Students are encouraged to find inspiration in the poetry, stories, illustrations, and information in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.
Learn more about the Letters from the White House writing contest at: http://www.ourwhitehouse.org/letterscontest.html
Reading Rockets and AdLit.org are services of public television station WETA, Washington, D.C. These multimedia projects use television, the Internet, print, and outreach to disseminate research-based information about teaching young children how to read and educator and parent resources to help those children and adolescents who struggle to learn. Reading Rockets is funded primarily by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. AdLit.org is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and by the Ann B. and Thomas L. Friedman Family Foundation.
For more information about the NCBLA, the creator of Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, go to: http://www.thencbla.org/.
For information about Reading Rockets, go to: http://www.readingrockets.org/
For information about Adlit, go to: http://www.adlit.org/