Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

LBJ Diaries
Matt Basinger
American History
Time Frame:
Two to three 45 minute class periods
Primary Source Analysis

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • This assignment is a primary source based activity.  Students are required to analyze the presidential diaries of Lyndon B. Johnson.  Research is combined with analysis to identify people and groups mentioned in the diary.  Also to explain the importance of these groups and major events mentioned in the diary.

  • This assignment will help build skills in analyzing primary documents and researching connected ideas to main ideas.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

  • District AP-6 – Analyze the evolution of American democracy, its ideas, institutions, and political processed from colonial days to present, including the struggle for civil rights.
  • District AP-8  Describe and evaluate the evolution of United States domestic and foreign policies, including: the Cold War.
  • AP-11  Examine all of the wars of the twentieth century (i.e., World War I and II), including: causes, comparisons, consequences and peace efforts
  • AP-25  List and explain criteria that give regions their identities in different periods of United States history



6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)



Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990)

4. (A) evaluates the foreign policies of Kennedy and Johnson during the Cold War (e.g., Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, Vietnam War, Peace Corp).

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

1. (A) analyzes a theme in United States history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

2. (A) develops historical questions on a specific topic in United States history and analyzes the evidence in primary source documents to speculate on the answers.

3. (A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in U.S. history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, evaluating on its meaning (e.g., uses provided primary

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Full description of activity or assignment.
  1. After background lecture on the main events that occurred during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, assign each person a page of a presidential diary found at the above address.
  2. Students are to read through their page of the presidential diary and take notes to assess prior knowledge of the people, places, groups, and events in the primary document.  This will include: historical concepts related to the document’s contents, questions they have about the document’s contents, and brief a brief summary of its contents.
  3. The teacher will have blank presentations created from the website, http://prezi.com (See the student example). 
  4. The teacher will show the student example http://prezi.com/kpwxh_doflzg/lbj-daily-diaries/ and teach the students the basic concepts of how to create a presentation using Prezi (use tutorials if necessary).  Students will need to sign up for a free account to create the project.
  5. Students will research in a computer lab to identify and find pictures of all people, places, and groups mentioned in their presidential diary with teacher guidance.
  6. Students will write a short biography (1 paragraph) of 3 people mentioned in the diary, a short description (1 paragraph) of each group mentioned in the diary, and 2 paragraph summary describing the importance of the major events mentioned. (All will be put into the Prezi presentation).
    1. Biographies – information in their biography needs to relate to the Johnson administration or the events that occurred during it.  Only 3 are required, these will contain pictures as well, people without biographies only require a picture.
    2. Group Descriptions – information needs to relate to the Johnson administration.  Two pictures are required to accompany the description.  All groups mentioned need to follow this format.
    3. Major Events – summary needs to include a basic description and the event’s importance in American history.  Two pictures needs to accompany the summary.  Two related events (not necessarily related to the LBJ presidency) with pictures should be included.
    4. Places – Any places mentioned need to include pictures only.
    5. All sources should be documented (See student example).

Students will construct their final products in a computer lab following the student example found at http://prezi.com/kpwxh_doflzg/lbj-daily-diaries/.  Students should add their product onto a teacher-generated template corresponding presidential date (for example, the student example is for August 6, 1965 and has room for 8 student-generated products – 1 student per page of the diary for that date).  Teachers can find other presidential diary dates at http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/diary/diarycol.asp

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Name: ________________________


Date : ___________________

Title of Work: ___________________











One or more components are missing.

One component is not fully completed but attempt has been made.

All components are complete but the written portions are not detailed.

Presentation contains: biography of 3 people, descriptions of all groups mentioned, and summaries of all major events mentioned. All information is complete and detailed.



One or more components are not followed.

All components are present but the layout is confusing or illogical.

All components are present but layout is simple and unattractive.

Presentation: is constructed using Prezi, uses the student example,and presents the information in a logical and appealing manner.



Notes are missing more than 2 components.

Notes are missing 2 components.

Notes are missing one component.

Presidential diary notes contain: assessment of prior knowledge, historical concepts related to the document's contents, questions/unknown material, and a brief summary.



Presentation contains less than 5 sources. NOTE: if no sources are present, no credit will be given for the project.

Presentation contains 5 sources but not all are reputable. No book or journal/magazines found.

Presentation contains 7 sources from solely reputable websites. No book or journal/magazine sources found.

Presentation contains at least 5 sources. Must have at least one book and one journal/magazine. All sources are reputable.



Minimum number of pictures are not met.

All components are present but some pictures are distorted.

All pictures are present. Minimum number of pictures are present, are clear, and are related to the content.

People: picture for each and 1 extra with bios. Groups: 2 pictures each. Places: 1 picture each. Events: 2 pictures each. All pictures are clear and related to the content. Presentation contains more pictures than necessary without being distracting.








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