Skip to main content
Presidents Day collage

February 16, 2023

Presidents Day: Teaching with Videos


Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Pinterest
Share On LinkedIn

We celebrate Presidents Day to honor and pay tribute to the achievements and contributions of past U.S. presidents who have served our nation. The holiday originated as a celebration of George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22, which was designated as a federal holiday in 1885. In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed, which moved the celebration of Washington’s birthday to the third Monday in February, thereby creating the holiday we now know as Presidents Day. For educators, this presents a unique opportunity to teach students about the significance of this holiday and its importance in American history.

Celebrating Presidents Day gives students an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the contributions made by each president and reflect on how their leadership has shaped the country. Students can identify the traits that make a great president, such as honesty, integrity, perseverance and strong communication skills. Educators can encourage students to analyze and discuss the qualities of great leaders and identify those same traits within themselves and their peers.

Using Untold HIstory videos, educators can discuss important historical events and milestones that occurred during various presidential terms. For example, discussing the Emancipation Proclamation during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, the Great Depression during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, or the civil rights movement during Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency can provide a meaningful way for students to reflect on the progress that has been made in our country.

Here are six videos with discussion questions to get lessons started:

The Precedent-Setting President: America’s First President

Remote video URL

Questions for Discussion

  • What was George Washington’s role in the Revolutionary War, and how did his leadership contribute to the war effort?
  • What was Washington’s view on slavery, and how does it impact his legacy?
  • What is the significance of Washington’s Farewell Address, and why is it still relevant today?

Emancipation Proclamation Exposed

Remote video URL

Questions for Discussion

  • How did Abraham Lincoln's leadership and vision help shape America’s future?
  • What was the Emancipation Proclamation, and how did it impact the course of the Civil War and the issue of slavery in America?
  • How did Lincoln’s assassination impact America, and what was his legacy in the years following his death?

Ulysses S. Grant: Profile of a Leader

Remote video URL

Questions for Discussion

  • What were some of Grant’s greatest military accomplishments, and how did his leadership impact the outcome of the Civil War?
  • What was Grant’s view on civil rights and the rights of African Americans, and how did this impact his presidency?
  • How did Grant’s reputation change over time, and what is his legacy today?

Teddy Roosevelt: One of the Toughest Presidents

Remote video URL

Questions for Discussion

  • What were some of the environmental and conservation initiatives that Roosevelt supported, and how did they impact America's natural resources?
  • What was the significance of Roosevelt’s foreign policy, and how did he expand America’s role on the global stage?

Lyndon B. Johnson: The Great Society Speech

Remote video URL

Questions for Discussion

  • What was Johnson's view on civil rights and the rights of minorities, and how did this impact the Great Society’s programs and initiatives?
  • How did  Johnson's leadership and vision help shape America’s future, and what lasting impacts did he have on the country?
  • What was the significance of the Vietnam War, and how did Johnson’s leadership during this time impact his legacy?

Ronald Reagan: Tear Down the Wall

Remote video URL

Questions for Discussion

  • What was Reagan's approach to nuclear arms control and disarmament, and how did it shape America’s relationship with the Soviet Union and other countries?
  • How did Reagan’s approach to government and leadership differ from other presidents, and how did this impact America’s future?

Please check out the UntoldEdu History Channel on YouTube, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @UntoldEdu.

Want to see more stories like this? Subscribe to the SML e-newsletters.

Presidents Day Activities

What is the function of a president in a democracy? How has the role of first lady changed over the years? Explore and engage with this free, curated collection of preK-12 resources, and share the historic legacy of not only Washington and Lincoln, but of all U.S. presidents.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Want to see more stories like this one? Subscribe to the SML e-newsletter!

Untold History

Untold History explores stories, people and artifacts that students won’t learn about in an ordinary text book. Perhaps now more than ever, our history is a vital and very present part of the world around us.

Post a comment

Log in or sign up to post a comment.