When I do a one-room school immersion session (the kids pretend to be kids from a certain time who actually attend one-room schools), one of the most popular activities is to call out the Presidents from memory. I write the last names of the Presidents on the blackboard at the front of the room. The kids have time to study the names. Then they can volunteer to stand up at the front of the class to try to name the Presidents.
This could also be done as an activity for a party or event with a one-room school or Laura Ingalls Wilder theme. How far the President list goes depends on the time you pick for your party or event. My President list below is from 1796 to 1885, but feel free to pick any year you want.
Since you aren’t in a classroom with a blackboard, you’ll have to give out the list of names another way — maybe on a card-stock bookmark? Be creative. I normally set 6 President names for the first goal, but you can pick any number. I like to give more than the ones in the first goal because some people love the challenge. You don’t want to set the initial goal too high though because otherwise people will feel pressured to get that many instead of pleased with themselves if they do better than the goal or proud of the accomplishment if they make it.
- All guests will be given 10-15 minutes to work on memorizing the names. If the guests start getting antsy before times up you can call it early if everyone agrees.
- Ask for a volunteers to take a turn trying to call out all the names.
- In turn each volunteer will take a turn at being the contestant. The current contestant stands up and says how many Presidents going for (e.g. 6, all of them, etc.).
- The contestant then will try to say the last names out-loud in order.
- Everyone else needs to follow along on their list to make sure the volunteer doesn’t make a mistake. If they do, it’s up to the rest of the guests to say NO!
- If the contestant can’t remember the next one, they can say pass and the rest of the guests shout out the answer.
- After each turn no matter how few they got, everybody claps.
As host or hostess try to name the Presidents first and it’s a good idea to miss one on purpose, even if you wouldn’t have because it lets people try out the pass and correct directions. Plus, by making the first mistake yourself the rest of the guests will be a lot more relaxed about trying since the first mistake has already been made.
- Van Buren
How Did It Go?
Try out Calling Out the Presidents at your event or party. Let me know how it went in the comments.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.