This lesson is an individual assignment on the first day (unless the teacher has so many students that they opt to have multiple students play a single character) and a group activity on the second day. The teacher has some leeway as to whether they want to provide certain primary and secondary sources or whether they want to treat it as more of a research assignment, where students can search for their own information.
Students tend to learn facts about different presidents but sometimes they have trouble relating presidents to one another and making connections over time. This lesson will give students the opportunity to hear from other presidents and think about how their character/president might relate to them. It gives the students an opportunity to become a certain president – to look at presidents in a slightly different manner and to give them the experience of thinking as they did and walking around in their heads for a little while.
Compare and contrast the views of different presidents
Analyze the extent to which certain presidents could have gotten along with/not gotten along with other presidents
Understand some of the reasons presidents from a certain era might have acted the way they did
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
General Websites Which Can Be Used:
Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/
National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/
The American Presidency Project: https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/
Below are other resources that could be used, more specific to the individual presidents, although the teacher may adjust the list/sorces for the class as needed.
Collected works of Abraham Lincoln https://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/
The Lincoln Log http://thelincolnlog.org/
The Papers of Abraham Lincoln https://papersofabrahamlincoln.org/
Ulysses S. Grant