image by WordSwag
Extra! Extra! Learn about Thomas Jefferson!: – an activity for children of all ages. With this activity, children will not only learn about Thomas Jefferson and all of his accomplishments and talents, but also about layout and design techniques when creating a newspaper or magazine spreadsheet. In addition, your older child will learn how to research and write a newspaper or magazine article. This is also a good opportunity for older children to learn about copyrights and plagiarism.
*In doing this activity, please be aware that it is against the law to use any image not on the public domain. Also, when using an image from a public domain site, be sure to check the license tag for each individual image to find out how you are allow to use it.
- gardening (or history) notebook/journal
- paper (if using a binder) – copy paper, cardstock and/or 140 lb weight paper if using watercolors
- pencil and eraser
- art medium of choice (colored pencils, watercolors, crayons, or markers)
- page protectors
- glue, glue stick, or tape
- newspaper or magazine articles or internet access to pictures of these items
- Throughout the week, memorize Galations 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
- Consider reading Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography by James Cross Giblin.
- As you read, have your child narrate parts of the story back to you.
- Show your child a newspaper or magazine article. Ask them to describe what it looks like. Point out the different designs and layouts use, if needed.
- Have them design their own newspaper or magazine layout with the images that are described below.
- Have your child print Thomas Jefferson’s picture from the public domain images. Feel free to draw or sketch a picture as well.
- While drawing or cutting pictures out, have your child tell of Jefferson’s accomplishments and narrate parts of his story that had an impact on them. Discuss Jefferson’s perseverance as he planted his garden.
- Have them draw an outline of the state of Virginia or print other images (from the public domain) associated with Thomas Jefferson that they would like to include in their garden or history notebook/journal. Consider including images such as the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, a two dollar bill, Monticello and it’s gardens, Mount Rushmore, images from Thomas Jefferson’s garden book, this week’s memory verse (Galations 6:9), and famous quotes by Jefferson, such as from the Declaration of Independence.
- Print the above images of their choice (again from the public domain), and then have them carefully cut them out.
- Have your child design a newspaper or magazine layout with the printed images, remembering to allow room for a heading and text, and secure them with tape or glue.
- Next, include a heading that catches attention and describes their layout. (This can be as simple as “Thomas Jefferson”).
- For older children: Have your child include a description and/or significance of each image. Record a younger child’s explanations/dictations as desired.
- For additional learning, discuss the famous phrase written by Thomas Jefferson, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Discuss the controversy surrounding this quote and the fact that Jefferson himself owned slaves. Ask your children, “If he believed all men to be created equal, then why did he not free his slaves? If you were Thomas Jefferson, what would you have done?” Consider having your older child further develop their thoughts about this through a creative writing assignment.
- For an older child with an interest in writing and/or the news, have them write an editorial on Thomas Jefferson. Guide them in their research as they gather information and facts needed for their report. See the recommended reading section to assist them in their research.
- Place these pages in a protector when finished and include them in their garden or history notebook/journal.
- Take pictures and tag #theabundantgarden on Instagram to share your fun and for an opportunity to be featured @theabundantgarden.