A visit to the White House, Washington D.C., and our nation's capital is one of the highlights of this cross-country tour. This award-winning book is packed with so much information, it will probably take days to appreciate it all. From the maps, sketches, photographs, and drawings, to all of the fascinating details, this place should capture everyone's attention.
Behind The Scenes
Each year, millions of people go to Washington, D.C. On any given day, as many as ten thousand visitors may tour the White House. The President's home, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is just one of many sights to see. Stories about this city, the White House, the government buildings, the Presidents, and important events, should spark interest in history, government, legal issues, and even White House Ghosts.
Many Different Directions
Locate Washington, D.C. on a map. Identify the bordering states and the Potomac River. Talk about the nation's capital and encourage children to share what they know about this place. As a group, examine the map at the beginning of the story. Find the White House, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, etc.
Set up a “Washington News Bureau.” As an ongoing project, post items of interest on a bulletin board. Display newspaper headlines, photos, and articles about the capital, the White House, the President, the First Lady, new laws, important visitors, etc. To give children credit for the material they bring in, have them write their names on an official Press Pass.
Learn about city planning. Note that Washington is one of the few cities in the world that was actually designed before it was built. Talk about the advantages of planning ahead. Compile a list of decisions that had to be made. If possible, invite a local city planner to visit the classroom to talk about his/her job, and to share information about your city or town.
Plan a contest. When it was time to decide what kind of house to build for the president, Thomas Jefferson suggested having a contest. This contest was advertised in newspapers all over the country. Imagine what that ad looked like and what it said. Ask children to submit the ads they picture. Post all the ads, and then choose the winner(s).
Imagine working in Washington. Think of some of the more exciting possibilities. Use story details to compile a list of job opportunities. Ask each student to choose one career(job) and do research on that subject. Encourage them to find out about the education and training needed for each position... along with the responsibilties, salaries, hours, and rewards. Then, schedule a career day. Allow time for youngsters to share their findings.
On the lighter side, read aloud Arthur Meets the President by Marc Brown, another story about a contest and a trip to Washington, D.C.