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April 29, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Discuss Biden’s address with your students

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Students may want to read about key takeaways from the speech here or the text of the whole address here.

Summary: Delivered to a House chamber filled with more empty seats than lawmakers, President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress struck an intimate tone. Just one day shy of his 100th day in office, Biden used the speech to update Americans on his administration’s promises and plans, including details about his proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, immigration reform and foreign policy.

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • What subjects did President Biden discuss in these clips?
  • Who is present in the chamber?
  • Why do some members of Congress applaud and give standing ovations and others do not?
  • How do you think the President will carry out his plans?
  • When and Where did Biden give his address?

Focus questions:

1. Which of the issues mentioned in the highlight reel do you most support? Why? What will it take to make that happen? If you do not support any of the proposed programs, why not? What would you rather see instead?

2. Why was the opening of Biden’s speech, in which he acknowledged Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, historic?

Media literacy: After joint addresses to Congress, responses by a member of the opposing party is customary. Why do you think Republicans and, in this case, the progressive Working Families Party gave responses to Biden’s speech?

You can watch Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s speech here in which he talks about COVID and the partisan divide. For Scott’s full reaction, click here.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) delivered a response on behalf of the Working Families Party to Biden’s speech. The Working Families party seeks more progressive and robust reforms than many Democrat lawmakers.


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