Teacher Talk: Presidential Politics (June 30)

It is hard to believe that we started our second week at VAMPY yesterday!  It sounds like the students had a great time this past weekend.  Monday, we finished examining the presidency of Ronald Reagan.  We began class by having a group discussion of the legacy of Reagan’s administration.  We then had a group discussion about if they were president in 2014 what kind of budget would they propose on government spending & taxes.  They discussed the different ways they would attempt to balance the budget.  We then discussed the foreign policy during the Reagan years.  After we discussed last Friday’s assessment, we went to the library where students researched the country’s reaction to Reagan being shot early in his first term.  Students also researched the four summit meetings that Reagan had with Gorbachev.

After lunch, students were then divided into two groups where they were put in charge of creating a poster for either Walter Mondale or Ronald Reagan in preparation for today’s debate during the 1984 election.  Students then watched Garrett & Andrew debate as Reagan & Mondale as they role-played the 1984 election.  The class voted Reagan the winner.  We then looked at how historians ranked the presidency of Ronald Reagan before we watched a short 10-minute clip about his presidency.  Our class then discussed why they think historians ranked him in certain categories like public persuasion, relations with Congress, moral authority, international relations & administrative skills.  We then finished our notes regarding the Reagan years before students were divided into four groups as they completed a task rotation activity involving four Supreme Court cases that dealt with public schools & student’s rights during Reagan’s presidency.  Tonight during study hall students were going to start working on their research for their Mt. Rushmore project.

Dennis Jenkins