Lincoln's Birthday: February 12th

Lincoln's Birthday: February 12th

by Christine Gorman, Judie Haynes

Introduce the concepts of slavery and the Civil War when studying this famous American President.

Unit Topic

Abraham Lincoln

Proficiency/Grade Level:

Grades 3-6 High Beginning to Advanced students

Content Concepts/Skills

Social Studies concepts

Gr. 2-4: What kind of man was Lincoln? What did he do as president?

Gr 5-8: Slavery, freedom, rights


Grades 5-8: Kentucky, President, debate, slavery (slaves), “Emancipation Proclamation;” secede, Confederacy, Civil War, prejudice, lawyer, rights, freedom.

Grades 2-4: “sense of humor ” honest, “Honest Abe”, lawyer, read.

Materials Needed

Books about Abraham Lincoln which are appropriate to age of students. Internet resources on Lincoln; Explore America , level 7

Unit Overview

Information should be related to student’s background knowledge. In order to do this the teacher can have students research with their families what was happening in their native country in 1860 to place events in a time sequence. To link information about concepts to prior knowledge teachers can review information which students have studied about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Instructional Sequence

Grades 5-6

1. Advanced Beginners read Abraham Lincoln, President of a Divided Country More advanced students completed a reading about Abraham Lincoln on Enchanted . Students in grades 2-3 read “Abe Lincoln, The Boy Who Loved Books” by Kay Winters and Nancy Carpenter. Fourth graders read Abe Lincoln’s Hat.

2. Locate the Civil War on a timeline. Help students understand that the Civil War happened 100 years before Martin Luther King’s fight for racial equality.

3. Brainstorm with your class: What is a bully? Do you know someone who is not being treated well? Draw a picture to show the problem. Have you ever helped protect someone who was being bullied? How can that person stand up for themselves? Have students act out a situation where one person is being bullied. What is a peaceful solution? Use one of the ideas from their list for your dramatization.

4. Fourth grade students will decide what they would keep in Abe Lincoln’s hat and write about it. The writings can be put on an outline of a stovepipe hat. Second and third grade students might do the same activity except the book would need to be read to them. Students with limited language proficiency could draw a picture of their idea.

5. Show on a map what the United States looked like in 1860. Have students color the Southern and the Northern States different colors.

6. Download our PDF file Lincoln Sequencing Activity and have students sequence the events of Lincoln’s life. Beginning students can be given the sequence activity with only 4 items to sequence.

7. If students in Grades 5-8 have difficulty with the concepts of discrimination and slavery, it is necessary to build background knowledge and relate the concept to their own lives.

8. Download our PDF file Lincoln Question & Answer Activity.

9.Give students a word bank. Have them complete a cloze activity, Lincoln Cloze Activity.

10. Have more advance students complete our Abraham Lincoln Web.

Activity Downloads

Note: To view the classroom activities, you must have Acrobat Reader intalled. Acrobat is a free application available from Adobe Systems.

PDF fileAbraham Lincoln Web (3k .PDF)

PDF fileLincoln Cloze Activity (3k .PDF)

PDF fileLincoln Question & Answer Activity (3k .PDF)

PDF fileLincoln Sequencing (5k .PDF)

Related Links

President's Day: George Washington
Have students celebrate George Washington's on President's Day, February 19th. This is also a good time to teach about the first U.S. flag and the American colonies. Teach students to sing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Resource Picks

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
This informative site has a wide range of useful information for teaching students in Grades K-12. Listen to Yankee Doodle Dandy and learn the background to this famous American song which dates from before the Revolutionary War. A community map with a post office, police station, and hospital is an excellent teaching resource for students in K-1. Access quick facts about Washington D.C. for students in grades 2-4. Try the games and puzzles about U.S. presidents for grades 5-8.

Explore America
This American history series emphasizes the role of immigration, as well as religious and democratic values, in the development of the United States. Geography, economics, and literature are all tied to the history, then events are related to the students' own experiences.

Symbols of U.S. Government
This compelling site is part of the Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids. It contains a picture and text about seven symbols of the United States as well as pictures and a short text about numerous monuments. There are also recordings of eight patriotic songs.

About the Authors

Christine Gorman is an ESL and French teacher for the River Edge Public Schools. She is also Chairperson of the Bergen County Affliate of NJTESOL/NJBE.

Judie Haynes is a former ESL teacher, author and professional development provider.