Let's Watch Lincoln

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SWBAT answer text dependent questions from a video about Abraham Lincoln.

Big Idea

Lincoln is an important figure in American history.

Prepare the Learner

10 minutes

I teach my kids the song “Honest Abe” sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle.

Honest Abe

(to the tune of Yankee Doodle)


I love the name of Abraham,

We see him on our money,

His picture's on the $5.00 bill

And also on our penny.


Honest Abe is what he's called,

Honest, kind and true.

He was jour 16th President

He loved both me and you, sir.



I like to use this song because it frontloads the most important fact of all that I want my students to learn about Abraham Lincoln 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

Abraham Lincoln 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 Abraham Lincoln.  I read the first question “Lincoln did not go to school a lot, but he studied at home.”  and say to students: Everybody listen for that information.  We are listening to determine if  Lincoln did not go to school a lot, but he studied at home. When I get to the first stopping point, we lift the first ‘page’ or ‘flap’ on the Lincoln note taking guide and answer the question based on the evidence in the video. (yes)

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

Stopping points:

0:25  Lincoln did not go to school a lot, but he studied at home

0:58  Lincoln was a doctor and the 16th president.

2:50 Abraham Lincoln did not like slavery and set the slaves free.

3:13  Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth.

End  Abraham Lincoln is on the $5.00 bill and on the penny. 

"How to create the Lincoln note taking" 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

Lincoln writing

I ask students: What can you tell me about Abraham Lincoln? What did we read about?  What did we see and hear in the video?  Everyone think quietly to yourself.  I like to have students put their fingers on their head to ‘show’ me they are thinking.  After about 15 seconds, I have students turn and talk to a partner and share what they know about Lincoln with their partner. I walk around and listen to their dialogue and assist where necessary.  After they share with a partner, we share out with the group.

I then show students the long writing paper.  I say: Boys and girls, I am going to give you a paper that is tall and skinny like Lincoln’s hat was!  On this paper I want you to write me one thing you know about Lincoln. We call these ‘facts.’  Everyone say FACT.  (students repeat)

I continue: I am going to write that he was the 16th president because I remember that from the book and the video. I then model writing “He was the 16th president of the U.S.” on my paper.  I prompt students to help me spell my words, but for the sight words we refer to our word wall. 

I then ask students to think about what they are going to write and when they can tell me their sentence they can raise their hand.  As they tell me their sentence, I hand them their writing paper and dismiss them to their seats.  I like to do this so that they verbalize what they are going to write and I have an idea of what they are going to write. 

This writing is unassisted.  I like to see what they can do on their own and it serves as a formative assessment for me.  (save these to glue in art project done on following day)