Extra! Extra! Learn All About Thomas Jefferson!

The Abundant Garden: Growing Quality Kids Through Gardening by Kinderfarmhomeschool.com

Extra! Extra! Learn about Thomas Jefferson!: – an activity for children of all ages. Along with the lesson, consider reading Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography by James Cross Giblin. 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. When using a image from a public domain site, be sure to triple-check the license tag for each individual image.

  • Supplies:
    • garden (or history) notebook
    • white paper
    • page protector
    • pencil
    • eraser
    • art medium of your choice
    • glue, glue stick, or tape
    • newspaper or magazine articles or internet access to pictures of these items
  • Show your children a newspaper or magazine article. Point out the different designs and layouts used.
  • Have them design their own newspaper or magazine layout with the images that are described below.
  • Have your children 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 children tell of Jefferson’s accomplishments and narrate parts of his story that had an impact on them.
  • 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 notebook. 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, 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 children 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 them include a description and/or significance of each image. Younger children can label each image or dictate to you their narrations.
  • 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 owned slaves. Ask your children: If he believed all men to be created equal, then why did he not free his slaves? If they were Thomas Jefferson, what would they have done? Consider having your older child further develop their thoughts about this through a creative writing assignment.
  • For older children 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.