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Presidency Unit Final

Sunday, March 06, 2011


6:38 PM

Are factors such as race, age and gender important when selecting a President?
○ A Three Week Investigation for 11th Grade Government Students

Overview:
In this three week unit, students will investigate one of the enduring questions in American politics: What exactly makes a person a good
President? There is no definitive answer to this question, but discussing it engages students in a dialogue about their most fundamental
beliefs. In this unit, students will practice discussing issues of global importance with peers who view the same issues differently. In this
way, students will become proficient at taking a stand, supporting their beliefs with facts and expressing their views in written and oral
form. Students will view video clips depicting the Presidency in film, engage in small group discussions and participate in whole class
discussions around core content. The final summative assessment will ask students to apply civics concepts like the 8 Roles of the
President to real-life examples and will ask students to reflect on the traits they think make a person a good president.

Key Disciplinary Questions:

• Are factors such as race, age and gender important when selecting a President?
○ What qualifies a person to wield the powers of the Presidency?
○ Who helps the President exercise his or her powers?
○ How should Presidents use their power to change the world?

Enduring Understanding:
Citizens often disagree about what makes a President great because of differences in their beliefs and values. A key part of civic dialogue
is the ability to respectfully discuss such disagreements and support their own position with facts.

Goals/Objectives:
Students will be able to:

-Create and defend a personal political philosophy concerning the presidency based on their understanding of the core democratic values
found in founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as subsequent writings like the
Emancipation Proclamation and King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail (MI Civics 2.2.1, 2.2.4, ).

- Explain how different understandings of the core democratic values and their relative importance lead to political disagreeme nts (MI
Civics 2.2.3, 2.25).

- Analyze, using case studies, the role of the executive branch in implementing foreign and domestic policies which support, challenge or
extend the freedoms promised by the core democratic values (MI Civics 2.2.3, 3.1.5, 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.1.3, 4.1.4).

- Evaluate, take and defend positions about the role of the United States in the world and explain concrete steps the President could take
to see their position enacted (MI Civics 6.1.1, 6.1.2, 6.1.3, 6.1.4, 6.1.5).

Key Concepts for the Unit:

1. Executive Privilege: The right of the President to withhold information certain information from Congress, the courts or anyone else--even
when faced with a court order. It was created to ensure honest advice from the President's advisors, but it can be abused through events
like the Watergate Scandal.
2. Chief Legislator: Role of the President in which he informs Congress of the nation's condition and encourages them to pass le gislation to
fix its problems
3. Cabinet: The President's group of advisors who assist him or her in performing their eight roles as President. They are appoi nted by the
President and confirmed by the Senate to ensure the best candidates are selected.
4. Formal Qualifications for the Presidency: The three qualifications mandated by the Constitution for becoming President. These include 1)
being 35 years or older 2) a resident of the United States for at least 14 years and 3) a natural-born citizen.
5. Informal Qualifications for the Presidency: The numerous other qualifications individual voters find necessary for becoming President.
They differ from voter to voter and demographic to demographic, but they often include things like experience as a businessma n, time in
the military, a lack of personal scandals and a charismatic personality. It is these things, combined with a person's values and beliefs about

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the job, which determine the candidate for whom a person votes.
6. The 8 Roles of the President: A classification system designed to help students recall the different facets of the President' s job. Various
lists exist, but the one we chose matches the students' 2009 copy of Macgruder's American Government. The list includes chief of state
(ceremonial figurehead), chief executive (executer of the law), chief legislator, commander-in-chief, chief diplomat, chief of party, chief
citizen (moral example and defender of the "little guy") and chief administrator. A ninth role (chief guardian of the economy) was
sometimes used in the classroom as well, although American Government does not recognize this as a role.
7. Veto vs. line-item Veto: A veto occurs when the President negates an entire bill. A line-item veto, which the President does not currently
have, would allow him or her to negate parts of a bill while still passing the measure.
8. Pardon vs. amnesty: A pardon is the legal forgiveness of an individual's crimes by the President, whereas an amnesty is a pardon issued to
a whole class of people (ie. draft-dodgers)
9. Isolationism: Foreign policy viewpoint in which the United States should stay out of the affairs of other nations in order to promote its
own welfare.
10. Unilateralism: Foreign policy viewpoint in which the United States has the right and duty to protect its interests, even if this means "going
it alone" without the support of the United Nations or foreign allies. The most recent example of unilateralism was President Bush's
attack on Iraq without the support of the United Nations Security Council.
11. Internationalism: Foreign policy viewpoint in which the United States should engage with the other nations of the world to encourage
greater peace and global security. In the context of this class, the phrase was used to denote a multilateral approach to problems that
involves ceding autonomy to get the support of other nations.

Assessments
The unit will culminate in an achievement test with a multiple choice, short answer and extended essay portion. In accordance with the suggestions of
Daniel T. Willingham in his book "Why don't Students like School?," a multiple choice section is included to measure students ' ability to recall key facts
and definitions. A large number of the multiple choice questions ask students to apply their knowledge to a real -life case. This is part of my effort to
help students understand that civics is ultimately alive, not just a subject they study in school. To prepare students for th e short answer portion of the
exam, students have multiple opportunities during this unit to stop and jot and reflectively journal. They should become quite adept at putting their
thoughts on paper. On the unit test, the extended essay options are each connected to at least one day's worth of instruction and their themes match
the weekly themes in the unit calendar.

This unit includes a large number of small and whole group discussions in which I listen closely to students' answers. These discussions, along with the
associated graphic organizers and class reflections, will act as a form of informal assessment. Structuring the class around discussions provides me
with an opportunity to locate and remedy student misunderstandings. As not all students are willing to stand up and admit the y don't understand
something, I have also devised several other systems for checking student understanding. Every day of the class has graphic organizers or class
reflections that will be collected as an exit pass. Careful analysis of these texts during grading allows me to spot common misunderstandings and
provide feedback before students reach the test day. I also circulated during the two work days and small group times to ask students whether or not
they understood the items on the review sheet. These one-on-one conversations often elicited questions from students who were ashamed to ask
questions in front of their peers, including several English language learners.

The unit includes a performance assessment called the "8 Roles Handout" in which students are given the President's daily schedule, which includes
meetings with Congressional leaders, diplomatic events with the leader of India and conversations with the Joint Chiefs of St aff. The Handout is what
Gronlund and Waugh (2009) call an identification test because it asks students to apply the definitions they've learned of the 8 Roles to real -life
examples. In the nearly two pages of identification tasks, students clarified their understanding of each of the roles and sa w that the concepts we
learned in class could be connected to real events.

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat


2/27/2011 2/28/2011 3/1/2011 3/2/2011 3/3/2011 3/4/2011 3/5/201
• Ken hands back tests ACT • 2nd Hour • No class-testing • Movie Clip 1
What powers • Incorrect Reading Assigned 8 Roles Lecture • 8 Roles Lecture Analysis for
does the due to outdated book(p. -8 Roles participation
President 314-317 2, 3 Handout (Due points
have? Who do Monday) • Movie Clip
we want • 6th Hour (no Analysis for
wielding those class-testing) participation
powers? points
-p.364-367
Reading
-8 Roles
Handout
(Due
Tuesday)

Weekly
Current
Event Write-
up DUE at
beginning of
class
3/6/2011 3/7/2011 3/8/2011 3/9/2011 3/10/2011 3/11/2011 3/12/20
• Counselors 11
Week's Big -p. 364-367 Reading Informal qualifications How should the Is the cabinet prepared Cabinet
Question: • Counselors continued cabinet respond for the challenges of the Matching Quiz
Who helps the to world 21st Century?
Students do several "4- 8 Roles of the

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President Students do several "4- challenges like 8 Roles of the
exercise his Corners" Activities and rogue states, -Present students with President
powers? discuss the reasons why piracy and sets of three possible Handout
they prefer certain traits genocide? "new" cabinet Explained and
(military experience, departments Reviewed
business background, -Divide students -Students vote on which
minority background, etc.) into groups of 6 one they think should be Sharing
in a candidate formed first of the three Current Event
-Each group will using colored notecards Write-Ups
At the end of the hour, receive one of -Students stop and jot,
students write a one-page three handouts then discuss which option Weekly
reflection on the activity: created by TCI for they voted for and why Current Event
its Government Write-up DUE
-What surprised them Alive! Curriculum -End of day, students fill at beginning
about their classmates' out reflection worksheet of class
answers? -Students fill out on the following question:
-What didn't surprise a graphic
them about their organizer, "If you were President,
classmates' answers? discussing and what new department
-What ideas came up that selecting a policy would you create in the
they hadn't considered recommendation cabinet?"
before? for the President
-Why is it important to Reflection Worksheet
talk about ideas with This provides an Due at End of Hour
other people? introduction to
what the cabinet
Rambunctious Class departments do
Audible: all the time.

Use colored voting cards Read p.435-440


that match the colored
"corners" of the room .

3/13/2011 3/14/2011 3/15/2011 3/16/2011 3/17/2011 3/18/2011 3/19/20


Week's Big Who should be appointed to 11`
Question: the different cabinet Should the President Students watch Students are divided Rest of student
How should departments? have executive the PBS into five groups. presentations
Presidents use privilege? Why or why documentary • Four of the groups are with class
their power? Students receive two not? "Obama's Deal" given one of the four voting on
handouts, one that lists the by Frontline to policy "futures" created policy options
different cabinet posts and Executive Privilege learn about the by Brown University's
another filled with fictional Lecture centered on role of Chief Choice Program. After vote, ask
people who could hold those Executive Privilege . Legislator and its • The other group will students why
positions. inherent represent the President they voted as
• Students stop and jot, complexity and his or her cabinet. they did.
Students fill the positions for eventually sharing out They will have to choose
themselves and then their beliefs about the Homework at the end of the two Final decision
participate in a think-pair- appropriate uses of p. 504 1-2 day period which policy from the
share. executive privilege (Condoleezza they will follow as an President and
Rice vs. Administration. the cabinet
Two of the candidates would Isolationists)
not pass confirmation Two groups present HAND OUT
hearings: One because of their policy options REVIEW SHEET
charges that his bank
discriminates against women
and another because he has
political opinions incongruent
with his job (Transportation
Secretary)

3/20/11 3/21/2011 3/22/2011 3/23/2011 3/24/2011 3/25/2011

In-class work day with access In-class work day Half Day Unit Test Ken resumes
to textbooks -18 Multiple Choice lead teaching.
Jeopardy for -5 Short Answer
Review -Pick 1 of 3 extended Absent
response essays students
make-up test
with me in
Social Studies
Office

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