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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Use New Technology to Reinforce Instruction

Bringing Abraham Lincoln into a Technological Classroom
Ann Stephenson

Two hundred years ago Abraham Lincoln was born in a simple log cabin in Kentucky. Since then students have been reading and learning about the sixteenth President of the United States. In order to bring Abe to life in the classroom today, many technological resources are available to assist you in accomplishing a modern learning mode. 

Begin with a research project such as an Internet scavenger hunt to find out as much as possible about Lincoln. Break the class into small groups and have them search the Internet for questions such as: “Who was Abraham Lincoln?”  This will include when and where he was born and who his parents, wife, and children were. Finding his family tree will add interest to the project.  Other students will pursue information about his political life, with the remaining groups focusing on the Gettysburg Address and his assassination.  One or two may assemble the resource and cover pages. (Remember to be specific when looking for details of him online because if the words "Abraham Lincoln” are typed into a search engine there are thirteen and a half million hits returned.) It is also motivating to read Lincoln books aloud, along with information from websites.

After all articles have been read, each group will create a page for a Power Point Presentation, adding clip art. Have them summarize their information into five or six bulleted pieces of information gleaned from their findings. Have them incorporate music clips from the time of Lincoln’s life to give their presentations more depth. In order to have an “interactive” Power Point Presentation, include a copy of the Gettysburg Address on one of the pages, plug a microphone into the computer, and allow the students to take turns reading it aloud. Turn down the background music while the performance is taking place.

Then microwave some popcorn and invite other classes from your grade level to view your production.

Power Point Presentation

  1. Go to start, and then go to Programs. Click Microsoft PowerPoint. Press on Design.  You will find it in the upper right hand corner. Then pick the one you like the most.
  2. Click on the box that says Click to add title. If you want to change your text layout, click on New Slide.
  3. When you need to get a new page, click New Slide. You will find it in the upper right hand corner.
  4. To add pictures go to Internet Explorer. Find the picture you like the best, then right click and then select copy.
  5. Click Slide Show and look for Animation Schemes. Then click on it and look to your right and pick a movement for your slide. Click on Slide Show and look for Slide Transition.
  6. Pick what you want for your Slide Transition. On the bottom of the Slide Transition you will see words that say Modify Transition. You get to pick sound and speed of your slide.
  7. If you do something wrong, go to edit and click undo. When you’re done or want to see how your Slide Show looks, pres F5 on the keyboard, or go to Slide Show and click View Show.
  8. If you want a picture go to Insert and click Picture, then press Clip Art.
  9. If you want your words to spin go to Slide Show and click on Animation Schemes.
  10. If you want your background in color, go to Slide Show and click Custom Animations and click on it. Pick the one you like the best.
  11. If you want to change the font, highlight your words and go to Format and then click Font. You can change the font, size, and color.
  12. If you want to make a diagram go to Insert and click Diagram. Choose the one you like.
  13. If you want insert arrows, stars and/or boxes, go to Insert, then click Picture and then press Auto Shapes for more selections.

Downloading Music to Power Point Presentations*

  1. Display the slide to which you want to add music or sound effects.
  2. On the Insert menu, point to Movies and Sounds, and then do one of the following:

    Insert a sound file

    Insert a sound clip from Clip Organizer

  3. Double-click the sound file that you want to insert.
  4. When a message is displayed, do one of the following:
    • To play the music or sound automatically when you go to the slide, click Automatically.
    • To play the music or sound only when you click the sound icon , click When Clicked.
  5. To adjust the settings for when the sound file stops, click the sound icon Icon image, right-click, and then click Custom Animation.
  6. In the Custom Animation task pane, click the arrow on the selected item in the Custom Animation list, and then click Effect Options.
  7. On the Effect tab, under Stop playing, do one of the following:
    • To stop the sound file on mouse-click of this slide, select On click (the default).
    • To stop the sound file after this slide, select After current slide.
    • To keep the sound file playing for several slides, select After, and then set the total number of slides the file should play on.

NOTE: Directions are from “help” in Microsoft Power Point.

Related Websites

Abraham Lincoln by William Makepeace Thayer

Famous Family Trees

Inspire Kidz

Music From 1800-1860

Technology and Literacy Scavenger Hunts

Do you have a question or comment about this article? E-mail me.


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