The Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama
Essential Question: Why is the inauguration of Barack Obama significant to (your
future, the youth, the US, the Middle East, the World/Planet) ?
Write a critique or a letter to the editor critiquing the Inaugural Address of the President
Obama. Use a perspective that is not your own.
Standards: These lessons address the following standards:
• Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
o 1.3 Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
o 1.4 Types of Writing
o 1.5 Quality of Writing
o 1.6 Speaking and Listening
o 1.7 Characteristics of the English Language
o 1.8 Research
• Civics and Government
o 5.1 Principles and Documents of Government
o 5.2 Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
o 5.3 How Government Works
• Science and Technology
o 3.5 Earth Sciences
o 2.6 Statistics and Data Analysis
• Arts and Humanities
o 9.4 Aesthetics
BEFORE THE INAUGURATION: Developing Background
• Develop the students’ understanding of key vocabulary. Look at connotations
of words. For example, ask students to define “perspective” and “significance”.
Have students identify words that connote positive and/or negative stance.
• Read about the past inauguration focusing on change over time. Ask students
to discuss how the inaugural ceremony of Barack Obama could be/should be
modified to reflect the significance of his presidency and/or our times.
Standards: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.8, 5.1,9.4
• Discuss with students how life experiences prepare us for our future. Ask
students to research biographical information about Barack Obama. Have students
to identify events and/or experiences that might have prepared him for the
presidency at this time in history?
Standards: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5,1.7, 1.8
• Build on students’ knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement. Ask students to
write a message to Barack Obama from the perspective of a historical figure, such
as Martin L. King, Robert Kennedy, the Little Rock Five, etc.
Standards: 1.3, 1.4, 1.6,1.8, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3
• Trace the transfer of power in America. Have students brainstorm pros and
cons of this process at this time in our history.
Standards: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 5.1, 5.3
DURING THE INAUGURATION: Watching and Listening to the Swearing-In
Ceremony and the Inaugural Address
• Have students watch the inauguration with a specific purpose.
o Students can set their own purposes for watching based on their interest
and/or how they chose to complete the essential question.
o Teachers can set a purpose for students based on the question a class is
o Provide students with some structure note-taking form. i.e., T-Chart
(What I saw/heard… vs. What I thought)
• Assign students different roles or perspectives to track during the
inauguration. For example, listen for information about the economy, about
urban communities; about the environment and/or energy, etc.
• Make notes of important points based on the students’ personal perspectives.
Why do you think it’s important to give this speech?
Standards: 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 5.3
AFTER THE INAUGURATION:
• As a group/class respond to the essential question. Use examples from the
Inaugural address to support your response.
• Have students respond in some way. Create responses to the inauguration
based on course content and/or focus question. Several ideas are listed below:
o Students create blog or join a blog to discuss events of the Inauguration to see
what others are saying and compare it to their own thoughts.
Standards: 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 5.2
o Make a list of the events of the day. Explain the significance of each event.
Standards: 1.4, 1.8, 5.1, 5.3
o Explore the impact of Barack Obama’s inauguration on the political aspirations of
other minorities, including women? Have students keep a chart of the gender and
ethnicity of political appointees. Discuss the impact of these choices on policy
Standards: 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 5.1, 5.3
o Discuss the strong effect the election had on young people during this election?
Cite evidence from newspapers and website that shows the level of interest
generated by Barack Obama’s election.
Standards: 1.3, 1.6, 1.8, 5.2, 5.3
o Read Article 2 of the Constitution which pertains to the requirements to become
president. Develop a logical argument on why the constitution should be changed
to allow foreign-born citizens to become president.
Standards: 1.3,1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3
o Reflect on the events of the electoral process and the election and what they mean
Standards: 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 5.2
o Explore the role of political cartoons in American politics. Research political
cartoons as a literary genre. Discuss the role of political cartoons in free speech.
Examine cartoons pertaining to Barack Obama and compare them to previous
presidents. Have students read and discuss message of the cartoon. Have students
categorize cartoons according to perspective.
Standards: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 5.1, 5.2, 9.4