I Do Solemnly Swear: Inauguration Day 2021

Struggling with how to teach the inauguration in your classroom? Below you will find lessons, read alouds, primary sources, and seesaw activities to help students better understand this day in history.

Read Alouds

Utilizing picture books can be a great way to introduce challenging topics for students. Below you will find two different book lists, and also two different picture books that are read aloud on YouTube with corresponding lesson plans you could use and adapt to fit your needs. 

This list of books for election day includes stories that are applicable for Inauguration Day. 
Senate.gov has curated a list of children’s books and websites about the U.S. Government. 

Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter

“On her way to the polling place, a senior African-American woman thinks about the people who wanted to vote but were denied, starting with her great-great-grandparents. She reflects on the accomplishments of the people who bravely fought to give African-American people the right to vote.“ Learn more how to use this text in your classroom with this lesson suggestion

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

In this fun and timely story, readers are introduced to the American electoral system. They are also taught the value of hard work and independent thinking. Learn more about how to use this text in your 2-4 grade classroom with this lesson suggestion

Seesaw Activities

Write your own Inauguration Address
Grade Level: 2-6
In this activity, students will write their own Inauguration Address. Use this activity if you’re looking for a way to incorporate writing with Inauguration day! 

Design Your Own Presidential Cabinet
Grade Level: 2-6
In this activity, students will learn a bit about a Presidential cabinet, and then design their own cabinet. 

The Presidential Oath of Office
Grade Level: 2-6
In this activity, students will learn more about the Presidential Oath of Office that each president takes on Inauguration day. 

Inauguration Day Read Alouds
Grade Level: K-2
Students will listen to a variety of read aloud stories, and then vote on who should be their president.

Duck For President
Grade Level: K-2
Listen to the read aloud of Duck For President, then students will vote on which character should be their president. 

Teaching Tolerance Resources and Lessons

Unfamiliar with TeachingTolerance.org? Learn more about their mission and vision here

Teaching the Inauguration 
Struggling with how to address the upcoming inauguration in your classroom? Consider teaching about inaugural history.

Countdown to January 20
The days leading up to the presidential inauguration hold excellent opportunities to teach about civic engagement and civility.

Primary Sources

Image of President Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address.

Primary documents are a great way for students of all ages and abilities to dive into authentic text and to look for meaning. By using primary sources, students can learn to identify biases and the impact of a speaker’s point of view. Engaging with primary documents also encourages students to look into contradictions within text and to compare multiple sources that represent differing points of view. Below, you can find links to collections of primary documents for students to explore.

Inaugural Address Collection
Farewell Addresses
Library of Congress “I Do Solemnly Swear” Resource Guide
Primary Sources for the Primary Grades – Kindergarten Lesson Plan

Other Lessons Ideas

Presidential Inaugurations: I Do Solemnly Swear
Grade Level: 3-5
Students discover how the Presidential Inauguration has changed over time and presents historical figures with archival materials.

Presidential Inaugurations: A Capitol Parade on a Cold Winter’s Day
Adaptable for all grade levels
Includes brief discussions of five presidential inaugurations with links to related articles and activities, the text of the oath of office, and links to featured websites. 

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