Presidents Day Activities for Upper Elementary Students

3 Must Try President Day Activities for Upper Elementary Students

I love taking time each February to celebrate Presidents' Day! It gives us the opportunity to get in some Social Studies activities, which are oftentimes cut out of our day due to time constraints. 

Celebrating Presidents' Day not only gives the students an opportunity to learn about the past, but to also celebrate the current President in office, and think about the future, too. One of our country's future Presidents is sitting in your classroom right now!

While I know that holidays do not always make the cut in everyone's lesson plans, teaching lessons that incorporate the holidays and seasons is totally my thing! Here are three activities that I love to do to celebrate Presidents' Day in the upper elementary classroom. And since they are all reading and writing based, they are the perfect way to weave the holidays and social studies into your ELA lesson plans!

1. Compare and Contrast Washington and Lincoln 

how to teach about presidents day compare and contrast Washington and LIncoln

Reading and analyzing paired passages and comparing and contrasting informational passages are two activities that we do anyway, so bringing in President Washington and President Lincoln to compare and contrast is easy and effective!

Get started by having students watch these quick videos, take notes with the FREE organizers below, and then put their close reading strategies to work by reading and comparing the paired passages about Washington and Lincoln.

Kindly Note: Please preview the videos to make sure they are just right for your class!

2. Studying the Past and the Present

Teach Presidents Day with Research Biography Projects and Close Readings

When Presidents' Day rolls around in February, we are knee-deep in nonfiction and informational text studies during both reading and writing.  We focus on nonfiction structure and biographies. Studying both United States Presidents of the past and present is a great way to study both history and current events while supporting both reading and writing standards.

When it comes to research and writing biography reports, I make sure to:

  • have students brainstorm who they want to study 
  • approve who each student researches to avoid duplicates in class
  • breakdown what needs to be in a biography research project (see tips HERE)
  • give students specific tasks each day so that they are focused and organized
  • have students present projects, creative tasks, or speeches about their research

Teacher Tip: Use the current President in Office to write a class biography to serve as a model for student work. This helps students learn about who is currently in office and see a model in action before beginning their own research project. We also take this time to make sure that we know the difference between fact and opinion so that our research projects can be factual!

We also take our informational reading skills and use them to read, annotate, and reflect on a wide range of U.S. Presidents from the past.

Try these U.S. Presidents reading passages to use as models of informative writing for students!

3. When I Am President...A Look Into the Future!

Presidents' Day Class Presidents When I am President Activity

Presidents' Day is a great day to spend learning about Presidents of the past. After all, the holiday of Presidents' Day came from the original holiday of Washington's Birthday. However, after we study the U.S. Presidents of the past and the present, we look ahead to the future!

What better way to look into the future than to see what the current generation thinks about how they would run the country! My students always love to learn about the responsibilities of the United States President and then reflect on what they would do as the President of the United States. This is such a high-interest activity for the kids and it makes a great bulletin board display, too! #teacherwin

4. Get Your Doodle On or Make a Poster

Lately, the kids are obsessed with coloring! I love using these Doodle Thinkers throughout the year to get them focused, relaxed, and brainstorming before they complete word work and a writing task!

presidents day activities for upper elementary

If you are working on nonfiction, informative writing, then have your kids do a little research and create their own informative writing report, essay, or poster! These are posters are great to tie together history, holiday learning, and nonfiction writing! 

presidents day activities for upper elementary

Bonus Idea: Read a book!

presidents day activities for upper elementary

You know I love reading a good picture book any chance I get! These are my favorites to share with students as we dive deep into Presidents Day learning!

When it comes to celebrating Presidents' Day in your upper elementary classroom, tie your studying into your ELA lesson plans simply and seamlessly! Focus on reading, research, writing, and projects. Your students will love to learn about the past, present, and future of the United States Presidency with these engaging activities!

Grab highly engaging President activities HERE.

3 Must Try President Day Activities for Upper Elementary Students

                     LOVE these ideas? Pin to save!

Teaching About Presidents Day for 3rd 4th 5th Grade students

presidents day activities for upper elementary

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)

Back to Top