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February 11, 2019

George Washington Didn’t Use a Cell Phone

By Nancy Jang

A lesson on our first president that connects with young children

Grades 1–2

    Key Takeaways:  

    • Cover first-grade social studies standards by comparing and contrasting long ago and today, and learning about Presidents’ Day.
    • Use Scholastic News to make a lesson about George Washington fun, fascinating and easy to grasp for young children.

    Did George Washington call his soldiers on a cell phone?

    Did he ride a motorcycle on the battlefield?

    No!

    George Washington lived long ago. Life was different then.

    That’s what I teach my first graders when we learn about George Washington for Presidents’ Day. This year, Scholastic News for grade 1 helped me bring that message home. The magazine did an incredible job this year with its article, “Long Ago in George’s Time.”

    This is how I taught my Presidents’ Day George Washington unit:

    1. My Kids Predicted

    We started with one of Scholastic News’ great online resources: a printable skills sheet asking kids to predict what they thought would be true about our first president.

    • Did George Washington fly on airplanes?
    • Did people wear t-shirts in his time?
    • Did George Washington live at the White House?

    2. We Read the Issue — The Truth About George!

    Then it was time to read the issue and find out if our predictions were right.

    I projected the digital issue onto my whiteboard. I was losing my voice that day, but I had a solution! I pushed the Read Aloud button at the top of the digital issue, which also highlighted each word as it was being read. Then we all listened together. I love this feature.

    My kids listened intently as they learned that:

    • George didn’t fly on airplanes. He rode in a horse-drawn carriage.
    • George didn’t wear t-shirts. But he did wear a tricorn hat!
    • George didn't live in the White House — it hadn’t been built yet!

    3. An Anchor Chart: Now and Then

    We made an anchor chart of differences between George’s time and ours. I like anchor charts because they allow my little ones to add their ideas quickly with me scribing. I keep the chart up and add to it as we read other books about the topic.

    4. We Watched the Video

    My kids love the informative and fun videos that come with each issue. We watched “The Life of George Washington,” and we learned that he knew how to make maps!

    5.  We Played the Online Game “Here Comes George!”

    An online game comes with every issue. The game asked my kids questions about George Washington’s life — questions they nailed because they had absorbed the information from the issue.

    6. We Read About George

    During reading time, I read several short books about George Washington so we could learn more. These are titles I like:

    The Life of George Washington, by Maria Nelson

    George Washington: The Life of Leadership, by Robin Nelson

    George Washington, by Lola M. Schaefer

    George Washington: Farmer, Soldier, President by Pamela Hill Nettleton

    7. Fun Facts About George

    For fun, I found more interesting facts about George Washington to share with the kids.

    • He never wore a wig, even though it was the fashion at the time. Instead, he powdered and styled his own chestnut-colored hair.
    • By the time he was 57, George Washington had only one real tooth left in his mouth. He had many pairs of uncomfortable false teeth made of bone and metal. He was so self-conscious about his teeth that he rarely smiled.
    • The museum at his historic home of Mount Vernon owns a real set of his dentures. Here’s the link to a photo and video* about them:

    It’s fascinating to look at these dentures — my entire class let out a collective EWWWWW when they saw them.

    *Teacher-to-teacher warning: in the video, the museum curator says that the teeth in the dentures were made “from a combination of horses and asses on the top, and cows and human teeth on the bottom.” The word asses had to be framed as a name for the animal and NOT the bad word! You can imagine the giggles and gasps that surfaced when she said that!

    8. A George Washington Craft

    To wrap up our George Washington unit, we made these adorable crafts. On the back, we wrote a paragraph about what we learned about our first president.

    I hope you enjoy these snapshots of how I use Scholastic News. If you’d like to try this wonderful magazine for yourself, you can subscribe for the 2019–20 school year. It’s worth every penny. Have a happy Presidents’ Day!

     

    Nancy Jang teaches first grade at Woodland Elementary School in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District outside Los Angeles, CA.  

    Key Takeaways:  

    • Cover first-grade social studies standards by comparing and contrasting long ago and today, and learning about Presidents’ Day.
    • Use Scholastic News to make a lesson about George Washington fun, fascinating and easy to grasp for young children.

    Did George Washington call his soldiers on a cell phone?

    Did he ride a motorcycle on the battlefield?

    No!

    George Washington lived long ago. Life was different then.

    That’s what I teach my first graders when we learn about George Washington for Presidents’ Day. This year, Scholastic News for grade 1 helped me bring that message home. The magazine did an incredible job this year with its article, “Long Ago in George’s Time.”

    This is how I taught my Presidents’ Day George Washington unit:

    1. My Kids Predicted

    We started with one of Scholastic News’ great online resources: a printable skills sheet asking kids to predict what they thought would be true about our first president.

    • Did George Washington fly on airplanes?
    • Did people wear t-shirts in his time?
    • Did George Washington live at the White House?

    2. We Read the Issue — The Truth About George!

    Then it was time to read the issue and find out if our predictions were right.

    I projected the digital issue onto my whiteboard. I was losing my voice that day, but I had a solution! I pushed the Read Aloud button at the top of the digital issue, which also highlighted each word as it was being read. Then we all listened together. I love this feature.

    My kids listened intently as they learned that:

    • George didn’t fly on airplanes. He rode in a horse-drawn carriage.
    • George didn’t wear t-shirts. But he did wear a tricorn hat!
    • George didn't live in the White House — it hadn’t been built yet!

    3. An Anchor Chart: Now and Then

    We made an anchor chart of differences between George’s time and ours. I like anchor charts because they allow my little ones to add their ideas quickly with me scribing. I keep the chart up and add to it as we read other books about the topic.

    4. We Watched the Video

    My kids love the informative and fun videos that come with each issue. We watched “The Life of George Washington,” and we learned that he knew how to make maps!

    5.  We Played the Online Game “Here Comes George!”

    An online game comes with every issue. The game asked my kids questions about George Washington’s life — questions they nailed because they had absorbed the information from the issue.

    6. We Read About George

    During reading time, I read several short books about George Washington so we could learn more. These are titles I like:

    The Life of George Washington, by Maria Nelson

    George Washington: The Life of Leadership, by Robin Nelson

    George Washington, by Lola M. Schaefer

    George Washington: Farmer, Soldier, President by Pamela Hill Nettleton

    7. Fun Facts About George

    For fun, I found more interesting facts about George Washington to share with the kids.

    • He never wore a wig, even though it was the fashion at the time. Instead, he powdered and styled his own chestnut-colored hair.
    • By the time he was 57, George Washington had only one real tooth left in his mouth. He had many pairs of uncomfortable false teeth made of bone and metal. He was so self-conscious about his teeth that he rarely smiled.
    • The museum at his historic home of Mount Vernon owns a real set of his dentures. Here’s the link to a photo and video* about them:

    It’s fascinating to look at these dentures — my entire class let out a collective EWWWWW when they saw them.

    *Teacher-to-teacher warning: in the video, the museum curator says that the teeth in the dentures were made “from a combination of horses and asses on the top, and cows and human teeth on the bottom.” The word asses had to be framed as a name for the animal and NOT the bad word! You can imagine the giggles and gasps that surfaced when she said that!

    8. A George Washington Craft

    To wrap up our George Washington unit, we made these adorable crafts. On the back, we wrote a paragraph about what we learned about our first president.

    I hope you enjoy these snapshots of how I use Scholastic News. If you’d like to try this wonderful magazine for yourself, you can subscribe for the 2019–20 school year. It’s worth every penny. Have a happy Presidents’ Day!

     

    Nancy Jang teaches first grade at Woodland Elementary School in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District outside Los Angeles, CA.  

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