After learning about some American symbols, we spent some time focusing on the four presidents from Mt. Rushmore. We began with George Washington – the first president of the United States. We read several books about his life and made tri-corner hats that included some of the things we learned. We also read the book, George Washington’s Teeth. He suffered with teeth problems for years. In fact, when he became president he only had two left. He wore false teeth made from a combination of human teeth, animal teeth, and ivory. The kindergartners wrote number sentences guessing how many teeth Washington had when he was inaugurated.
Next, we learned about America’s third President – Thomas Jefferson. He was an avid reader and donated thousands of books to the Library of Congress. He was a brilliant man who designed his own house, invented the dumb waiter, swivel chair, and other things. He was the writer of the Declaration of Independence and, as president, doubled the size of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. The kindergartners used quill pens and “ink” to trace over some of the famous words from the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson spent five years in France. When he returned home he introduced several types of food to America – ice cream, French fries, macaroni and cheese and tomatoes. We had a Thomas Jefferson feast that included homemade ice-cream, and macaroni and cheese made from his recipe.
Abraham Lincoln was the next president that we studied. We learned that he was born in a log cabin and helped his dad build one as well. He loved to read and would walk several miles to borrow books. He was known for his honestly, which earned him the nickname Honest Abe. He wore a tall, black hat where he put important letter and papers.
We also read the book, Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers, which is the story of a young girl who wrote to President Lincoln suggesting that he grow whiskers. In the book are copies of her letter to him and his response to her. The kindergartners crafted Lincoln’s face and added paper-torn whiskers. Their Lincoln also wore a tall, black hat complete with a letter inside.
Theodore Roosevelt was the final president we discussed. During the Spanish-American war, he organized a volunteer calvary called the Rough Riders. He was also instrumental in making National Parks around the country. The kindergartners used colored pencils and watercolor paints to complete a picture of Theodore Roosevelt as a Rough Rider. Then to remind us of his role in setting aside land, they painted forest scenes using paint brushes and their fingertips.
We also learned that the teddy bear was named after Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt. To celebrate that fact we had a teddy bear picnic. Because the weather was not very nice outside, we brought our picnic inside. The kindergartners brought teddy bears to school and we ate teddy bear shaped sandwiches, a forest of vegetables, pretzel sticks, ‘bear’ies, and chocolate ice cream made to look like a bear’s face.
To go along with the President unit, the kindergartners researched one of the four presidents and wrote about his life. They presented the reports to the class and then made paper dolls to go with their reports.