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C-SPAN: American Presidents Life Portraits

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

Tech Product Equipment

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, speakers

Activity Description

In this activity, students watch a biographical vignette about an American president of choice and take notes. Students are then asked to write an essay about the president selected and share what they learned with the class. This site also has teacher guides for all 41 programs from C-SPAN’s television series, American Presidents: Life Portraits. There are also numerous video resources to enhance classroom instruction on the presidents.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school and that the videos can be viewed.
  2. Preview the video and select the ones you want students to view.
  3. View resources about a president by selecting a president in the Pick a President dropdown menu at the top of the page.
  4. Prepare a template for students to fill in data about their president.
  5. Decide if you want students to work in groups or individually and which presidents you will be highlighting.
  6. Prepare a link on your computers, or class Web site so students can easily access the site.


  1. Introduce the Web site to students and demonstrate how to find needed resources for one of the presidents.
  2. Pass out the template and explain what is needed.
  3. Assign or let students select a president.
  4. Give students time to research their president and complete the template.
  5. Have students complete the assignment for homework and prep for short presentation in class.
  6. Have students present their findings to the class.

Teacher Tips

The Web site can be used to enhance classroom instruction when presenting a certain period in history

More Ways

Be sure to check out the Teachers tab at the top.

Select subjects and subcategories

Social Studies

  • American Government
  • U.S. History
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.