Teaching Lincoln: Materials for the Lincoln Bicentennial

Contributed by Janet Johnson

Ms. Johnson’s 6th grade class from Pine Street Elementary in Wayland, Michigan, is intently studying Lincoln for the upcoming bicentennial of his birth.

Johnson, a teacher of 30 years, has compiled a reading list that includes books from well-known authors and illustrators with teacher- and-student-friendly styles.  She spent countless hours reading books about Lincoln to narrow down a selection for this list, which ranges from reading level 3.2 up to level 7.3.

Download the reading list here: Abraham Lincoln Book List.pdf

These Lincoln books were selected to be used in the month preceding February 12th, but  may be used anytime during the school year when Lincoln, presidential history, or historical biography are being studied.

Ms. Johnson’s Suggestions on How to Use this List:

Read aloud to students and discuss
Have students read in small groups
Provide as a guide for student research on Lincoln
Use as a source for comprehension questions
Use as a source of quotations from Mr. Lincoln
Use for  geography skills
Use as writing prompts 
Use book indices to find additional sources
Enhance classroom learning on President Lincoln and his life 


For example, Johnson’s class used these books to research Mr. Lincoln, make maps of places important to Lincoln, create a list of Lincoln quotations, draft a timeline of Mr. Lincoln’s life,  create a chart showing Mr. Lincoln’s height compared to the students’ height (see images above), and make a comprehensive test (see below)–all over the course of two days .  

Download the comprehensive test here:
Abraham Lincoln Genius Test.doc

The students have shared their reading list with other students and family.  Three of the books on Johnson’s list also happen to appear in a list of four books suggested to use for Abraham Lincoln’s  200th Birthday published by Instructor magazine, a magazine for teachers across the United States.

UPDATE!  Watch the video or read the article about how Ms. Johnson’s students and the rest of Wayland celebrated the Lincoln bicentennial, complete with live reenactments: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/02/school_celebrates_lincolns_200.html

Special thanks to Ms. Johnson and her 2008/2009 6th grade class for sharing their resources.

 Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this post and associated materials do not necessarily represent those of President Lincoln’s Cottage. 
Have you created lesson plans and materials for teaching Lincoln that you want to share?  Email Lincoln_Cottage@nthp.org.  Please be sure to include your name, grade, school, city, and state. 
Ms. Johnson is a 6th Grade Teacher at Pine Street Elementary in Wayland, Michigan.
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