President's Day: George Washington

President's Day: George Washington

by Christine Gorman, Judie Haynes

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 <i>Yankee Doodle Dandy.</i>

Unit Topic

George Washington

Proficiency/Grade Level

Grades 3-6 Advanced beginning to intermediate students

Content Concepts/Skills

Social Studies concepts: The Revolutionary War; beginning of the United States; George Washington as the first President.


“Father of our Country”, first president, Revolutionary War, surveyor, freedom, British, England, general, colony, independance, rebel

Materials Needed

Books about George Washington which are appropriate to age of students: Internet resources on Lincoln; Explore America, Level 4

Unit Overview

Information should be related to your students' background knowledge. In order to do this, the teacher can have students research what was happening in their native country in 1770. This can be done with their families at home. In order to understand the concept of “Taxation without Representation,” students could act out what was happening in the colonies in the 1770s.

Instructional Sequence

1. Place the Revolutionary War on a timeline. Show events that the students already know about on this timeline. This can be done for students in grades 4-8.

2. Show on a map of the United States in 1776. Have students mark the thirteen original colonies. Discuss why they were called colonies, not states. Locate England on a globe so that students see that it is far away.

3. Advanced Beginners will read George Washington, The First President of the United States by Carol Greene. More Advanced students will read a selection from Enchanted Learning .

4. Visit the Betsy Ross Homepage and have students learn about the first flag. Have students see the flag in different stages of U.S. history on Flag Picture Gallery. They can also visit The Paul Revere Virtual Museum and learn more about that historic event.

5. Play Yankee Doodle for students. Explain that the song was introduced by the British to make fun of the colonists but the colonists adopted the song for their own.

6. Students should sequence events of Washington’s life. Use our PDF Washington Sequence Activity.

7. Download our PDF Washington Questions and Answers. Have students write a question for each answer.

8. Download our PDF Washington Cloze Activity and have students complete it.

9. For more advanced students download our PDF George Washington Web and ask students to fill in the spaces with important facts about Washington's childhood, young adulthood, Revolutionary War, and presidency.

Activity Downloads

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

PDF fileGeorge Washington Web (3k .PDF)

PDF fileWashington Sequencing (5k .PDF)

PDF fileWashington Questions & Answers (3k .PDF)

PDF fileWashington Cloze Activity (6k .PDF)

PDF filePledge of Allegiance (60k .PDF)

Related Links

Lincoln's Birthday: February 12th
Introduce the concepts of slavery and the Civil War when studying this famous American President.

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.

Midnight Rider: Paul Revere Virtual Museum
This informative site is comprised of 5 Exhibit Halls including the real story of Paul Revere's Ride, the Longfellow poem, information on Colonial Boston and music from the Revolutionary War.

Betsy Ross Homepage
Take a virtual tour of the Betsy Ross House, read the story of her life. See flags from various times in American history, and learn some flag trivia.

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.

Liberty's Kids
PBS: Liberty's Kids contains ideas on how to make life in Colonial America relevant to youth today and key reasons for the War of Independence. It introduces your students to famous Americans of the times and helps them compare life in the 1800s with life in 21st century.

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.