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The Presidency



Your Government, Your Voice!

Scholastic News Edition 4
Scholastic News Edition 4 provides exciting science and social studies features and helps kids build their geography skills.

Grades 3-4: Lessons and Printables

Your Government, Your Voice!

To introduce students to basic civics and current-events analysis


  • Define the term citizen (community member with rights and responsibilities). Can students name any of their rights as a U.S. citizen? What are some responsibilities of being an adult U.S. citizen?

  • Test prior knowledge. Ask students if they know who runs our country. Can they name the current U.S. President? Do they know when he was elected?

  • Explain that President Obama will soon have been in office for 100 days. During the first 100 days of a new administration, people take an especially close look at the President’s work. After an election, many voters whose choice for President won want that candidate to live up to campaign promises as quickly as possible.

  • "This president has inherited the most difficult first 100 days of any president, I would argue, including Franklin Roosevelt,"—Vice President Joe Biden. Why? Ask the class to explain Biden's quote. Have students name major issues facing the nation. Make a list on the board and inform students about ways the Obama administration has addressed some of these issues since January. Alternately, present the list of issues that the President cites online in his agenda, and ask students if they’ve heard of any of the agenda items listed and what they know of them. When introducing controversial issues like the economy or health care reform, explain that many people feel differently than the President about these issues and about his response to those issues.

  • What are some ways in which students can evaluate new Presidents? What are some criteria by which students can evaluate the Obama administration?


  • Break the class into three groups. Ask one group to name ways in which a teacher keeps students safe, happy, and learning when in class; ask a second group to name ways in which a parent keeps kids safe, happy, and growing strong; and ask a third group to name ways in which U.S. Presidents keep citizens safe, happy, and living well. Make a chart with three columns on the board, and tell students to write responses in their group’s column. Compare and contrast as a class: How are these responsibilities similar and different?

  • To go in-depth into the President’s handling of one issue pertinent to America’s youth, print Scholastic News Online's article “Health Care for More Kids,” about the Senate’s passing of a revised state children’s health insurance program. Assign skill page “Health Care: Just the Facts” for homework to test comprehension.

  • Take students to the computer lab to tour the White House’s Web site with the “Web Hunt at the White House” quiz. To answer these detail questions on how their government works, students will use robust information on current events from a constantly updated primary source. Define primary and secondary sources for students. Ask students whether the White House’s Web site is primary or secondary, and why. What makes a Web site different from other primary sources like documents or video recordings? Can a primary source be biased? Is this Web site biased?

  • After reviewing some problems and prerogatives of the current administration, students will formulate an opinion in a letter using the skill sheet “Dear President Obama.” Excite students by talking about Ty'Sheoma Bethea, an eighth-grader from South Carolina who asked President Obama in a letter to increase funding for her school. Bethea was invited to attend the President’s first speech to Congress, where he even quoted her letter, saying, “We are not quitters.” Send student letters to the White House!



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    The Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court

    by Christine Taylor-Butler


    •     Superb age-appropriate introduction to curriculum-relevant subjects
    •     Covers all studies, from Animals to American History, Geography to Science
    •     "Words to Know" glossary clarifies subject-specific vocabulary
    •     "Learning More" section encourages independent study
    •     Index makes navigating subject matter easy


      4/1/08 School Library Journal
      In these updates of the old "New True" series, the graphics take center stage. These books have more color, more eye appeal, more "pop" than older approaches to these often-studied topics. Unfortunately, they have more style than substance. Of the two, Supreme Court is more focused and therefore more effective in providing information. It answers the questions students will have, and includes some entertaining trivia. Presidency takes a more scattered approach. An explanation of the system of checks and balances is greatly simplified. A few examples are listed but no attempt is made to show the full effect that each branch of government has on the others. In discussing the executive branch, the author says, "The departments and agencies of this branch do many things." She then cites the CIA, Peace Corps, and Department of Labor, perhaps to illustrate the great variety of responsibilities within that branch, but does not offer a chart or diagram showing all of the cabinet posts and their purposes. As a result, children may be left confused as to how the presidency is related to the other areas. The back covers promise "surprising, TRUE facts that will shock and amaze you!" While these titles provide visually appealing, basic introductions to the topics, few readers will be shocked or amazed. Muriel L. Dubois's The U.S. Presidency (Capstone, 2003) takes a more straightforward approach to supplying facts.


      $21.75 You save: 25%
      Library Binding | Grades 3-5
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    Grades 3-5 $21.75
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    John F. Kennedy: A Life of Citizenship

    John F. Kennedy: A Life of Citizenship

    by Anne Todd


    2/1/08 Library Media Connection
    The books in this series discuss key people in United States history, describing their life from childhood, clearly including reasons why they are well known. The readers are asked questions a couple of times in each book that cause them to relate their life to the life of the person being discussed. In addition, the drawings and story are told in a way that is interesting for children to read and think about. Each two-page spread has color illustrations. The large font is easy to read. Any word that is included in the glossary is printed in bold. Each title has a list of library and Internet resources for learning more about the person discussed in the book. Glossary. Table of Contents. Index. Recommended.


    $14.00 You save: 30%
    Library Binding | Grades K-2
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    Grades K-2 $14.00
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