Enjoy these free inauguration-based lesson plans, links, and audiobook samples!
Some helpful links to use with the lesson plans:
• Text transcript and audio of President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. Also check out this view of the crowds!
• Transcript of inaugural poem read by Elizabeth Alexander, and a video of Reverend Lowery’s benediction.
• Check out the new whitehouse.gov, wordles of some recent inauguration speeches for comparison, and a cool search site that will compare words said in lots of inaugural speeches
• All the newspapers’ headlines of the inauguration – very cool
• “A New Birth of Freedom” is 2009 inaugural theme, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. Find out more about how Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address will factor into the ceremonies here.
• Official Inauguration Website – See the progress of the inauguration site, learn some inauguration history, and view the inaugural schedule. They also have a flickr photostream.
• Barack Obama on YouTube – View past speeches and appearances from the campaign.
• Obama-Biden Transition Project YouTube – More speeches and appearances to view. This is where Obama’s weekly addresses are now being posted.
• Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln‘s Wikipedia pages, and the Wikipedia page for the President of the United States
• Inaugural Words 1789–present: A look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses.
• Transcripts of all the presidents’ inaugural addresses are available here and here. These are a great resource to keep on hand!
• CSPAN has a great collection of inauguration videos of past presidents (see “more from CSPAN” and “related videos” for more), including one of President Kennedy and one of FDR.
LESSON 1 – Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Listen to the complete audio recording, read by Nelson Runger, and have a class discussion comparing Lincoln’s speech to one of Obama’s or contemplating the purpose of the speech. Then, have students make their own speech reaction video. Download our complete lesson plan plus the complete text of the speech, with all 3 activities outlined. This is a great way to get students interested in the inauguration and really listening to speeches and rhetorical techniques. For more ways to use historical documents in the classroom, try our InstantLessons.
LESSON 2 – The Kid Who Became President
For younger students, this book is a winner! Listen to the excerpt (President Judson Moon’s inauguration speech) and discuss, using the activities outline in the lesson plan and our worksheet. If you have the book or entire audiobook, discuss some of the many things mentioned during the story that are now especially relevant, including a female Vice President, an African American President or VP, internet fireside chats, an America in turmoil from hurricane damage, and more.
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