Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Tweet It!: Truman's Big Decision Edition
Author:
Lindsay Kingsolver
Course:
US History
Time Frame:
4 class periods
Grade Levels:
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Students will complete a short biography research sheet over either Harry Truman or Bess Wallace Truman.  Students will share out what their biography research has uncovered. Students will then participate in a group analysis and comparison of letters between the first lady and her presidential husband and examine her influence on the issues of the time.  Students will also individually complete a short written response explaining her influence and the perspectives represented in the primary documents.

Rationale:
  • This lesson will require students to examine the primary sources of personal letters and conduct biographical research on either President or first lady Truman.  They will then use their information to determine the influence and relationship of the first lady and President Truman.

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


  • MLS T1S5A: Using a United States’ historical lens, describe how peoples’ perspectives shape the sources/artifacts they have created.
  • MLS T4S2B: Evaluate how the programs and policies of the New Deal and WWII changed the relationships among the government, groups, and individuals.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Biography Boxes: First Lady Edition – attached worksheet
  • Biography Boxes: Presidential Edition – attached worksheet
  • Written Document Analysis – attached worksheet
  • Tweet Sheet – attached worksheet

 

BIOGRAPHY BOXES
PRESIDENTIAL EDITION

Name of Present:

 

Birth Information

When:

 

 

Parents:

Where:

 

 

Siblings:

Important Life Events

Important Event #1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Event #2:

 

 

 

Personal Information/Facts:

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 

6.

 

What were his accomplishments?

POTUS

Name:

 

Term of Office:

Political Party:

Important Events While in Office:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children/Important Family Members

 

 

 

 

American Public’s View on President

 

 

 

 

 

 

What people had an influence on the president?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Interpretation

(Was he important?  Why?  Was he a good president?  Why?  What is his lasting impact on the presidency?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

BIOGRAPHY BOXES
INFLUENTIAL FIRST LADIES EDITION

Name of First Lady:

 

Birth Information

When:

 

 

Parents:

Where:

 

 

Siblings:

Important Life Events

Important Event #1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Event #2:

 

 

 

Personal Information/Facts:

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 

6.

 

What were her accomplishments?

POTUS Husband

Name:

 

Term of Office:

Political Party:

Important Events While in Office:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children/Important Family Members

 

 

 

 

American Public’s View on First Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was she influential on her POTUS husband?  Explain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Interpretation

(Was she important?  Why?  Was she a good first lady?  Why?  What is her lasting impact on the presidency/role of first lady?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

Document Analysis worksheet
https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/worksheets/written_document_analysis_worksheet.pdf

 

 

 

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Full description of activity or assignment.

DAY ONE

  • Students will complete previous instructions over the presidency of Harry Truman and the events/issues that occurred during this period.
  • Students will then be numbered off and assigned either President Harry Truman or First Lady Bess Truman to research and complete the Biography Boxes worksheet for their assigned historical figure.

 

DAY TWO

  • Students will present their biographies to the rest of the class.  Students will take notes over the explanations of the other historical figure.
  • The class will then examine the letter from Harry to Bess and Bess to Harry in pairs.  They will analyze using the Written Document Analysis worksheet for each document.

 

DAY THREE

  • Students will continue their analysis of the primary source letters.
  • The class will discuss the documents as a whole.
  • Students will conduct additional research concerning letters between Harry and Bess to gain perspective on their relationship and influence on each other.

 

 

DAY FOUR

  • Students will complete Tweet Sheet with at least seven tweets between Harry and Bess that relate to his decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan.  Their tweets should relate to the primary source research that they have completed.
  • Students will complete the assessment writing activity alone.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • Students will answer the following writing prompt and it will be graded by the teacher.
  • After you have completed biographical research and read primary sources about President Truman and his first lady, Bess Truman, answer the following question.  Your response should be at least six full sentences.  How did the primary source letters influence your opinion of President Truman and/or First Lady Bess?  Do you feel that their relationship was influential on the decisions that Truman made while President?
    • Prompts will be graded using the attached rubric.