Presidential Politics students analyze JFK

Pres. Politics 1By Dennis Jenkins

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being your child’s teacher at VAMPY for the next three weeks as we study presidential politics from 1960 to the present. Amber & I have enjoyed working with our class the past two days!

On Monday students created a list of important decisions that presidents made from 1789 to 1960. We discussed criteria that historians use to rank presidents. Students took a pre-test over presidential politics. The class watched a role-play of one of the televised debates between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in the 1960 election as Amber and I portrayed the candidates answering questions from students who posed as journalists. We then contrasted different campaign commercials from 1952 to 1960. Students discussed what they liked and disliked from the commercials. The class read part of JFK’s First Inaugural Address before they formed teams to make posters for the candidates in the 1960 election. We watched part of JFK’s Inauguration. We ended class by reading an article about how Donald Trump has defied predictions to win the Republican nomination. In study hall, students completed a ranking task activity over their perspective of President Kennedy’s most important decisions.

On Tuesday we examined the rest of Kennedy’s presidency by looking at pictures and watching the highlights from his presidency including the space race, Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Crisis, Vietnam War, and Civil Rights Issues. Students got to sign up for future debates before they were put into teams to create posters for the 1964 presidential election. We then watched an entertaining debate between President Lyndon Johnson portrayed by Will and Senator Barry Goldwater portrayed by Hayden. After lunch students went to the computer lab to take two political surveys to find out which current presidential candidate and political party their beliefs lined up with. We came back to class to contrast the different campaign commercials in the 1964 election. Students read LBJ’s inaugural address before they researched the biggest decisions that Johnson made as president. We then watched a clip over LBJ’s presidency and read an article over Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders joining forces. In study hall students contrasted JFK and LBJ in addition to researching two court cases during the Johnson years that dealt with civil rights & the rights of the accused.

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