Let's Watch Washington

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SWBAT answer text dependent questions from a video about George Washington.

Big Idea

Washington is an important figure in American history.

Prepare the Learner

10 minutes

We sing “Who Was the First President?”  It is sung to the tune of “London Bridge.” 

Who Was the First President?
(to the tune of "London Bridge")
Who was the first president,
President, president,
Who was the first president
Of our country?

Washington was first president,
First president, first president,
Washington was first president
Of our country


I like to use this song because it frontloads the most important fact of all that I want my students to learn about George Washington from the read.  It is a fun way to springboard into the book and set the stage for reading! 


Interact with text/concept

45 minutes

George Washington video

1st viewing:  Students will watch the video the first time through as an unencumbered view.  The purpose of this viewing is for them to get the gist of the video.

2nd viewing: Students will watch the video the second time through with stopping points that allow them to gather information about George Washington.  I read the first question “Is George Washington on the $1.00 bill?”  and say to students: Everybody listen for that information.  We are listening to determine if George Washington is on the $1.00 bill. When I get to the first stopping point, we lift the first ‘page’ or ‘flap’ on the Washington note taking guide and answer the question based on the evidence in the video. 

I continue in the same fashion with the question, video and notetaking guide for each of the ‘pages’ or ‘flaps.’

Stopping points:

0:22  George Washington is on the $1.00 bill.

3:01  George Washington wanted to be king.

3:18 George Washington was elected as our 2nd President in 1789.

4:00  George Washington is known as the father of our country.

End  Many places are named after George Washington. 

"How to create the note taking guide" video


Common Core listening/speaking standards are clear that students should be able to listen for information as well as read for information.  We have done this through read-alouds forever, but technology now makes video much more accessible for classroom use.  Beyond that, as students move up in the grades, their assessments will likely have a listening comprehension component where they will have to extract information from a video.  Lessons like this one lay the foundation for that skill.


Extend Understanding

20 minutes

Washington monument


Between the book and the video, we have established the importance of Washington to our country.  I say: Boys and girls, he is so important that we have a special building dedicated to his memory to honor him.  It is called the Washington Monument.  Everyone say ‘Washington Monument.’  (students echo) 

I show some pictures of the Washington Monument.  I say: Today we are going to make our own small Washington Monument!


This is a three dimensional art piece that is attached to a green circle representing the grass around the monument.  Students cut and glue the sides of the monument and the top pieces fold up.  I usually put a little piece of tape or two to hold them in place. 


We write the sentence: This is the Washington Monument. and glue it to the front of the monument.