Presidential Politics students progress into the 1980s

By Dennis Jenkins

logoThursday in Presidential Politics we covered the presidencies of Gerald Ford & Jimmy Carter. We began class by watching a short clip that contrasted the presidencies of Nixon & Ford. Students took part in an icebreaker activity by telling the class their favorite place they have ever visited. We read two current events articles over the perception of Donald Trump around the world and who Hillary Clinton might pick as her running mate. We then read different quotes from politicians about Gerald Ford before the students ranked what they thought were the biggest decisions that Gerald Ford made as president. After our morning break students watched three different clips of political satire of how Saturday Night Live portrayed the presidency of Gerald Ford before we watched two campaign commercials of President Ford & Governor Jimmy Carter during the 1976 election. Students were then put into two political parties where they made posters for Jimmy Carter and President Ford. The class then watched an outstanding debate between two of the students as Ellen portrayed Gerald Ford and Emily portrayed Jimmy Carter.

Thursday's debate participants
Thursday’s debate participants

After lunch students shared a favorite sport team, musician or a Hollywood actor/actress that they like as an icebreaker activity. We then shared qualities that they look for in a presidential candidate. Students then went to the computer lab to research three court cases during the Carter years. When we returned for our last session of the day, students role-played, read Carter’s inaugural address, and read politicians who either praised or criticized President Carter. We then watched a clip over Carter’s presidency before they researched five of his most significant decisions during his time in office. We then analyzed the historical rankings of Carter and Ford. The students then took part in a task rotation activity for the last 15-minutes of class as they discussed within their groups different analytical questions over the three court cases they researched in the computer lab. Thursday in study hall, students continued to research their candidates and their opponents for the upcoming Presidential Face-Off Tournament.

Friday we completed our first week at VAMPY! We began class by having students take part in an icebreaker activity. Students watched a short clip over the legacy of the Carter presidency. We then read a current events article over Donald Trump’s proposed foreign policy. After our morning break students watched highlights from the Reagan and Carter debate in the 1980 presidential election. We then contrasted commercials from each candidate. Students were then put into teams to create posters for their candidates in the 1980 election or serve as campaign managers for the students who were going to role-play one of the televised debates between Reagan and Carter. The class then watched Justice and Emily role-play as Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter in the 1980 debate. Both students did an outstanding job portraying both candidates in their debate!

After lunch students played a team game called ‘Beyond Balderdash’ where students had to work with three other members of the class to use their creative thinking skills to come up with definitions of famous people or dates in history that they may not be familiar with. Many laughs were had by the students as the game become quite competitive. For the last hour of class students read primary sources over the legacy of Ronald Reagan and they completed a reading analysis over seven events that shaped Reagan’s first term in office. We then watched a short clip over Reagan’s first term before we researched a court case during the Reagan years. The students ended class by watching political satire over Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

We hope students enjoy their first weekend at VAMPY and the different activities that are planned for them back with their counselors. Students will have their next study hall on Sunday night and will begin researching topics for their Mount Rushmore project.





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