President in a Bag – George Washington

After reading about our first president, B chose 5 things to represent his life.

I receive The Idea Book for Educators, a free publication from A&E, History Channel, H2 and Biography.  Inside you’ll find study guides to assist us teachers with educating children through shows featured on the four sponsoring channels.  The guides include vocabulary, discussion questions, extended activities and additional resources.  My favorite section is “Creative Ideas From Our Teachers”.  Teachers write in and share ideas they’ve developed and used in their classrooms to get their students engaged in learning and have fun.  It is amazing to read their ideas!  The teachers whose ideas are published in the magazine each receive a $1,000 grant.

One of the winners in the Fall 2013 edition was Bethany Dabel of Grandview High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her idea was President in a Bag: Exploring the Executive Office.  Each student was to explore the life of a former president and collect 5 objects in a bag to represented their president.  The students then made a presentation to the class, explaining the objects they chose.  Brilliant!  I love hands-on learning as well as tapping B’s creativity.

We are studying American History for the first time this year, including presidents of The United States.  When I read Ms. Dabel’s idea, I knew if would be a great addition to our lessons.  We’re starting at the beginning, and the picture, above, shows 5 of the 6 items B chose to represent George Washington.  He really insisted on adding a 6th one.  Last night, he presented his objects to the hubs and me and this is what and why he chose:

  1. B’s tricorne, the three-point hat he received during our trip the Williamsburg, Virginia earlier this year.  This hat reminds B of Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s oil painting Washington Crossing The Delaware.
  2. B’s toy flint-lock pistol he also received during our Williamsburg trip.  The pistol reminds B that General George Washington was the leader, the top dog, the big cheese of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
  3. A tape measure reminds B how unusually tall George Washington was for his time – 6′ 2″.
  4. The one dollar bill – not only does it have George Washington’s picture on it but he was also the first president.
  5. Our front door (not shown in picture) represents the fact that George Washington was always welcoming people into his house as long as they dressed nicely.  He even went outside to find people to come in and converse.
  6. A tea bag because all hosts offer their guests refreshments, even if they are a stranger you met on the street, and George Washington had to be a proper host.
I’m so thankful to Ms. Dabel and The Idea Book for Educators for sharing her idea!


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