Thursday, February 18, 2010

Presidents' Day

Since the library was closed on Monday for Presidents' Day, I wanted to talk to the kids about who the President is and what he does. Quite a few of the kids knew who our current President was, and several shared opinions about him that they had heard at home - good and bad!  Many also knew George Washington was the first President (though some guessed George Bush). I also brought up Abraham Lincoln, since some knew his name and since it tied in with the craft we did later.  I showed them several coins and talked about which President was on each. We discussed how the President was in charge of the whole country just like their parents were in charge at their house or teachers were in charge in the classroom.  In one of my groups, a girl asked how a person became President, so we talked briefly about how adults get together and vote and pick the person they think will do the very best job, and whoever gets the most votes, wins.

Book 1: What Does the President Do? by Amanda Miller
A brief non-fiction overview of what the President does - make laws, meet with other leaders, lead the military.  I like including non-fiction books, and this was at the perfect level for preschool and Kindergarteners.  A recent book, it includes photos of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  The kids were most impressed that the President has his very own airplane.

Book 2: I'm Going to Washington to Visit the President by Tanya Roitman
Readers are nice filler books - they're very short and cover basic concepts.  This book shows a little boy, who is going to visit the President. President Lincoln? Nope. President Washington? Nope. President Jefferson? Nope. THE President at the White House. A nice addition because it reinforced some of the ideas from the first book (White House, Oval Office) and listed a number of former Presidents (all of who happen to be on coins).

Book 3: Madam President by Lane Smith
The final book, Madam President, worked ok for storytime, though it would be best as a one-on-one book. A humorous look at a girl pretending to be President, it shows approving lunch, doing "photo-ops", and "attending state funerals". Some of the concepts were simple and silly enough for the children to grasp right away (being protected by her secret-service pet), but others such as the toys in her "capable cabinet" are amusing, but would need a little more explanation than I can do in a group setting. So we just moved through that part and spent a little more time on the "veto" section, where the kids really enjoyed vetoing everything, complete with thumbs-down signs.

Activity: Penny necklace
I gave each of the children three stars cut out from cardstock - one red, one white, and one blue, each about half an inch smaller than the last. They decorated each star, glued one on top of another, then glued a penny to the middle.  I punched a hole in their stars and let them thread a string through to make a necklace that they could wear. As we were working, I talked about Abraham Lincoln (the penny guy) and had each child repeat the name as they put their penny on their necklace. George Washington would have been easier to work with since more kids knew his name, but I wasn't about to spend a quarter on each necklace.
Theme used week of February 15, 2010

Next week: Space - the final frontier!

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