Inauguration Resources




The upcoming presidential inauguration offers schools and students an apt occasion to reflect on citizenship, the presidency, the nation's past, and our collective future. We’ve put together some resources to help educators and parents take advantage of this historic moment. We'll be posting more information every day, so check back often!

General Inauguration Information

National Day of Community Service
    President-Elect Obama is calling on all Americans to participate in a National Day of Community Service on Martin Luther King Day (January 19). "As a tribute to that legacy and the very real needs of our nation, the President-elect and Vice President-elect have launched a national organizing effort on the eve of their Inauguration to engage Americans in service." Their new website,, allows visitors to search for community service events in their geographical areas.

Statement on Public Schools and Democracy
  • The Learning First Alliance has produced a statement on the vital role of public schools in a democracy. Feel free to use this statement in school assemblies, school board meetings, publications or for any other inauguration observance.

Inauguration Writing Contests
  • Official Student Essay Contest
    Write a winning entry about community service and win prime seats near the Inauguration parade route. The Presidential Inauguration Committee is hosting this essay contest for students in Washington, DC. Submissions are due by January 11th.
  • 6 words to Inspire a Nation
    Give speechwriting a try with this challenge to help Barack Obama inspire America in six pregnant words. Sponsored by Smith Magazine and the National Constitution Center.
  • Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future
    Write the next president about the issues and concerns most important to you. Google and the National Writing Project are co-sponsoring this online writing and publishing project for students, ages 13 - 18.
  • Letters from the White House
    On Inauguration Day, WETA's Reading Rockets and kick off a national competition entitled "Letters from the White House." This competition invites youngers from preschool through high school to imagine life in the Executive Mansion and write about themselves as if they had a role in a past, present or future White House.

Classroom Resources

Inauguration Lesson Plans
  • 2009 Presidential Inauguration Lesson Plans, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA)
    These lesson plans are designed to teach students about the history of Inauguration Day and provide information about the 2009 inauguration as well as background on traditional inaugural ceremonies. The site also suggests ways to supplement the lessons with discussion topics, films, books and educational Web sites. The materials are geared toward all K-12 grades.
  • Web of Dreams, Legacy Project
    In this initiative, students create an individual "Dream Star" in which they articulate a dream for themselves or their country.  They then come together as a group to draft a common message for President-Elect Obama that can include parts of their individual dreams or shared dreams for the group.  The message can also include an inspiring quotation or poem, dreams for America or the world, or words of advice for a President whose decisions will affect their future.  An adult can submit the common message online to be posted online and later delivered to President-Elect Obama.  For inspiration, read through other classes' submitted messages.  Messages will be collected until January 23, 2009.
  • Your Government, Your Voice! Lesson for Grades 5-8, Scholastic
    This lesson guides an age-approporiate discussion on the presidential inauguration and includes ideas and worksheets for follow-up activities.
  • Your Government, Your Voice! Lesson for Grades 3-4, Scholastic
    This lesson guides an age-approporiate discussion on the presidential inauguration and includes ideas and worksheets for follow-up activities.
  • Your Government, Your Voice! Lesson for Grades 1-2, Scholastic
    This lesson guides an age-approporiate discussion on the presidential inauguration and includes ideas and worksheets for follow-up activities.
  • Welcome to the White House, Teaching Tolerance
    In this lesson, aimed at students in grades 2-5, participants consider the changes and challenges faced by Sasha and Malia Obama as they transition to life in the White House.
  • Write Obama's Inaugural Address, PBS' NewsHour Extra
    In this lesson, students examine previous inaugural addresses and Obama quotations for key points, and use that information to write Obama's inaugural address. The selected prior addresses have something in common with the challenges to which Obama must speak--either a nation in disarray or the changing role of the United States in an international context.
  • The Inauguration and the Media, PBS' NewsHour Extra
    Students will read, review, and write about the presidential inauguration as it appears in the media.
  • I Do Solemnly Swear: Presidential Inaugurations, The National Endowment for the Humanities
    Students reflect on what the Presidential Inauguration has become and what it has been, while they meet a host of memorable historical figures and uncover a sense of America's past.
  • Address America, the Six Word Inaugural (PDF)
    This lesson created by a teacher in Florida introduces the history of the Presidential Inaugural Address and provides students a framework for writing a “six-word inaugural” address.
  • Hail to the Chief: Inauguration Lessons, Education World
    Ten lessons to help students learn about and commemorate the upcoming Inauguration. These lessons include activities in which students write letters to the President and create presidential portraits.
  • Historical Inaugural Speeches, Smithsonian Travel (PDF)
    Lesson plans built around past inaugural speeches, with links to the speeches themselves.
  • Inaugural Addresses, C-SPAN in the Classroom
    In this lesson, students examine past inaugural addresses and make predictions about President-Elect Obama's address.
  • A Tale of Two Leaders: Comparing Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama, The New York Times Learning Network
    Students compare the economic challenges that faced America in 1933 with those that face the country today. They then predict how Obama's actions in addressing these challenges will compare with those taken by FDR. Students then read a 1933 newspaper article describing FDR's first inauguration and write a similar article dated January 20, 2009, the day of President-elect Obama's inauguration.

Visionaries Speak about the Inauguration and Civics Education