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School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

Whiskers for Abe?

Intended audience: K-1 st


Thinking about candidates in this year's presidential election, students will listen to a story of a little girl writing to Mr. Lincoln called Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers and decide if Mr. Lincoln, as a presidential candidate in the past, looked better with or without whiskers. The subject of voting and choosing someone on how they looked will be discussed.


Students will:

  • Listen to a story about a little girl promising Mr. Lincoln her vote if he grows whiskers.
  • Compare photographs of Mr. Lincoln with and without a beard. Make reference to the use and importance of historical documents.
  • Color a picture of Mr. Lincoln adding a beard.
  • Cast votes for Mr. Lincoln choosing with or without a beard.
  • Discuss the importance of voting and how to make the candidate choice.
  • Analyze this year's candidates and discuss adding a beard.
  • Simulate voting for this year's presidential election.

Curriculum Connection

SS1a. identify examples of good citizenship.

SS1a. recognize symbols and leaders of the United States.

SS3b. recognize people from different times and places.

SS3c. distinguish among past, present, and future.

SS5a. recognize and describe feelings.

SS5d. show respect and concern for the rights of others.

SS8c: explain how voting is a way to make a decision.

SS10b. define basic social concepts of cooperation, conflicts, and competition.

SS10b. develop and use skills to communicate with individual and groups.

E1c.2 Being Read To: listen to and discuss every day at least one book or chapter that is longer and more difficult than what they can read independently or with assistance.

E1c.3 Discussing Books: refer explicitly to parts of the text when presenting or defending a claim

E1c.4 Vocabulary: learn new words everyday from talk and books read aloud.

E3a.1 Speaking and Listening: Talking a Lot: talk about their ideas, experiences and feelings; listen to others, signaling comprehension by clarifying, agreeing, empathizing or commenting as appropriate.


Book: Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick

Historical document photos of Abraham Lincoln without whiskers and one with whiskers:

Red, white, and blue decorations with a voting booth or box.

Ballots with Obama and McCain's name.


Recommended Time (Number of class periods/time of class periods)

One 45 minute class period.

Activity Outline (Complete the following sections)

I. Context (Have the students answer the following questions for all documents in the Activity)

a. What type of document is this?

b. What time period do you think this is? When do you think the photo was taken?

d. What is the purpose of this document?

e. What is happening in the photo?

f. Who is the audience for this document?

II. Warm-Up (2-3 sentences)

Teacher displays two photo documents of Abraham Lincoln with students identifying the person. Students will analyze the historical documents answering the questions above and discussing historical document importance.

III. Activity (6-10 sentences)

After showing the pictures of Abraham Lincoln, the teacher reads the book, Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers, to the group. Discuss why the little girl wrote Mr. Lincoln and the story. Have students speculate why the book is titled Mr. Lincoln as opposed to President Lincoln. Discussion about the way he looks before and after, then color a picture of Mr. Lincoln, adding whiskers. Take a vote among students as to their choice of Mr. Lincoln with or without whiskers. Discuss if voting for a person by the way he looks is a good way to choose a president of the United States in reality. Lead the discussion to the current presidential candidates. Discuss whether either of them, Obama or McCain, should have beards, explaining why or why not. Simulate a voting for their choice of candidate. Winners will be announced after all the classes in the school have voted.

IV. Evaluation

Teacher observation of student responses and completed coloring activity.

IV. Extensions (Suggest an optional, related activity)

Students could color pictures of current candidates with and without beards.

Students could discuss and list qualifications for the current presidential candidates.

Students could discuss and list qualifications for any person to be president

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