Thursday, February 14, 2013

Abe Lincoln's Hat

Hi, Teaching Friends!

I've always had great admiration for Abraham Lincoln.  So many aspects of his life are fascinating, and certainly worthy of the admiration of  our young students: his humble roots, his integrity, his calm and wise leadership in a tortured era of our country's history.

I love to read lots of great books about Lincoln to children. Good books bring the facts to life! Particularly at this time of year, when they've been introduced to so many new historical figures, Lincoln, Wshington, Dr. King, and Rosa Parks are swimming around in their little heads ... and for some, the Pilgrims are still around adding to their confusions! Hearing numerous anecdotes about the lives of these famous Americans helps untangle the confusion, solidify the knowledge, and make these people "real" for our students.. Some of my favorites are Bernard Waber's Just Like Abraham Lincoln, and Abraham Lincoln, The Boy Who Loved Books , by Kay Winters and Nancy Carpenter.

Another favorite is Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner. You probably know about Lincoln's penchant for storing important  notes in the band of his stovepipe hat. This book will humanize Lincoln for your students, helping them see his down to earth good sense as well as his great sense of humor. It's also a good tie-in to this Presidents Day project that was always a success in our class!

Lincoln is the source of so many memorable quotes. We'd spend some time in the weeks before Presidents Day talking about some of those quotes and how they relate to the life of a six-year-old.

* "Whatever you are, be a good one."

* "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

* "Be sure you put your feet in the right place. Then stand firm."

* "The things I want to know are in books."

* "I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing it until the end."

Building on what they'd learned about how Lincoln used his hat, we'd use black construction paper to construct hats, sometimes three dimensional and sometimes just an 8.5 X 11 hat with a long narrow rectangle at the bottom as the brim. Then each child would choose the quote with the most personal meaning for him, glue it to the hat, write about it, and illustrate it. If you keep the drawing paper small enough, the illustration can be glued right beneath the quotation.

If you're feeling more adventurous, make three-dimensional hats with a tall cylinder of black paper affixed to a circle base. Put the favorite quote on the outside as above, and store the rest inside the hat.

{I am SO frustrated that I can't locate the photo of how we displayed these projects!! The flat ones make a nice wall or bulletin board display under the heading "Abraham Lincoln said..."}

In case you'd like to try this project with your class, here's a printable that might make it easier for you.

Do you have a favorite book about Abraham Lincoln that you've found works well with your class?

Happy Teaching!

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