I’m sure we are not the norm, but we actually think learning about history is fun! Over the years we have studied famous people and places by reading living books rather than text books, visiting historical monuments and museums, and finding ways to bring our lessons to life (don’t you remember our adventures with duct tape weapons and the actual size Viking ship). Another interesting resource we often use is movies/video, and one of our favorite series for learning about American history is Disney Education The American Presidents DVDs.
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There are a few of Disney Educational Productions’ DVD series that you may already be familiar with because they have been around for a while — Bill Nye the Science Guy and School House Rock.
During our studies of United States history we enjoy getting to know all about our country’s presidents – what their lives were like, what lead them to seek the office of president, and some of the issues the country was facing during their time in office.
Disney Education The American Presidents DVDs offer a funny and memorable look at each person who has held the office of President of the United States (believe me, it’s hard to find a history video that makes kids actually laugh!). Each video includes an overview of the personal life of each president, some of the challenges faced, accomplishments achieved and context for the time period in which the person served.
As this video for George Washington will show, they present the information in a way children will relate to AND remember.
In addition to brief biography videos about each President, the DVDs also include a related segment such as “The Making of the Presidency” in Volume 1 which is a look at how the U.S. selected presidency over monarchy and “The Presidency in Wartime” in Volume 2 which is an exploration of the past and present wartime powers of our Commander in Chief.
When the DVD is placed in a computer you can access a downloadable Educator’s Guide including suggested activities for students in grades 3-5 and 6-8 and a list of additional resources (books, DVDs and websites). The DVDs do not offer a complete curriculum/exhaustive study of each president, however they are a great supplement your family’s learning and should help your children remember some interesting history facts.
We have used these DVDs at home and in a co-op and they appealed to children from late elementary through early high school grades because the content was engaging and memorable.
For us Disney Education The American Presidents DVDs once again helped us prove that learning history can be a lot of fun!