On Thursday morning students reviewed the Richard Nixon-era Supreme Court cases that they had researched Wednesday evening during Study Hall. We then spent our morning session reading and discussing some of the major events of the Gerald Ford presidency and watched a clip over presidential politics that contrasted the presidencies of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. We next compared the commercials that were used during the 1976 presidential campaign by Jimmy Carter and Ford and watched how Saturday Night Live portrayed Ford. After students were assigned to the Ford or Carter campaign team, they created posters to represent their candidate during the 1976 election. We then had two students role-play Carter and Ford during one of their presidential debates. Taylor role-played Carter, with Dawson serving as his campaign manager. Stuart role-played Ford, with Sam as his campaign manager. All of the students agreed that Taylor and Stuart did an excellent job in their portrayals!
After lunch, students went to the computer lab to research several current events issues that are currently impacting presidential politics. When we returned to our classroom, we watched political satire from Saturday Night Live that featured a spoof of the 1976 debate and one of Carter’s speeches. Students later read several quotes from Carter in addition to the major events of his presidency. They did a ranking task activity where they wrote down a timeline of key events that shaped Carter’s legacy and watched a short clip over
the Carter presidency. Students then completed their presidential rankings chart by looking at how historians view the successes and failures of the Carter administration. Afterwards, the class was put into two different groups where they discussed a court case during the Carter years that dealt with the death penalty.
On Thursday evening during Study Hall, students researched a Carter-era court case that dealt with affirmative action. They also watched part of a documentary over the Carter years and read about a current events issue related to today’s presidential politics.