Students will read, review, and write about the presidential inauguration as it
appears in the media.
In our modern society, we live in a time known as the "Information Age." Information
can be acquired through a number of sources that use modern technology to bring
events and ideas to us almost instantaneously. With so much information at our
disposal, our democracy requires that citizens know how to consume, analyze, and
filter information and its sources.
The inauguration of a president is
a world event that carries a high level of symbolism for the people of the United
States and all over the world. With the images of television and the speed of
the new medium known as the Internet, students of government, politics, and history
will need to have the skills required to evaluate information and express their
opinions in a way that is logical and reasonable to others.
1. Have students watch the local and national news broadcasts of the inauguration.
Have them create a chart that compares the two types of broadcasts. Students should
take notes to list the differences in how the local and national news handled
the following ideas:
2. Bring into class the local newspaper from January
20 and a newspaper with a national perspective, such as the Washington
Post, the New York Times, the Christian Science
Monitor, or USA Today.
- How the president prepared for the inaugural
- The ceremony itself: its symbols, traditions, and people
the new presidential administration will affect the American people
from people in your state, county, and community
- The opinions of people from
around the world
- Historical information on past inaugurations and presidential
Have students compare articles
on the inauguration using the same ideas as listed above. Be sure to have them
visit the opinion-editorial page of the local and national papers. Have students
summarize one editorial by writing a paragraph about it. In their summary, students
should state whether they agree with the editorial and why.
3. If the
Internet is available, allow students to access the Web sites of major news providers.
Have students develop brief reports on how using the Web is better or worse than
using such other media as newspapers, television, and magazines. Have students
comment on the uses of Twitter, Flickr and multimedia, the reliability of information
on the Internet, and its global scope.
Sites students might visit include:
4. Have students keep a scrapbook on the inauguration for a week leading
up to and/or a week following the inauguration. Students may want to keep newspaper
and magazine clippings, maintain a journal on viewing news broadcasts, or print
out Web pages they encountered- or collect all these in one scrapbook. Allow students
to comment on how effective and how accurate their news sources are, or how these
sources might change the delivery of news. In their journals, students will want
to classify stories as news, features, or opinion. Students can share or present
their opinions and summaries after the event has receded from the news.
5. After viewing and discussing the inauguration, have students write editorials
on the new presidency. Have students send their letters to the editor of the local
newspaper or post their efforts to their school Web site. Develop a Web page that
looks like a student publication. Students may want to "report" on the events
of the inaugural, and their letters can be published online. Allow the online
community to read and respond to online student publications. Read responses in
class or assign them to students to discuss.
The lesson can be evaluated through the following measures:
accuracy of student analysis, both written and oral
2. The variety of
sources the student used in comparisons of media coverage
understanding of the issues presented, as demonstrated in the written editorial
1. Compare local or regional news coverage of your state governor's inauguration
to the coverage of the presidential inauguration.
2. Explore how international
news media sources cover the U.S. presidential inauguration. What differences
and similarities exist between national and international coverage of the event?
Some news sources to investigate include: