Archive for February, 2011

A Presidents’ Day Pop Quiz

When students are given the gift of a three-day weekend, it’s always fun to make sure they know why they’re getting that extra day off. Surprise your students with a pop quiz, and a reminder of the great service each of our presidents provided for our country.

Pick and choose from the questions below, or download our free quiz. This Microsoft Word file is editable and contains two pages. The first page can be used for lower grades, and second page can be used alone or with the first for upper grades. Edit to suit your needs and grade level.

Click here to download your free Presidents’ Day Pop Quiz.


What is the full name of our current president?

How many Presidents have we had in the history of the United States?

Presidents’ Day is observed each year on the third Monday in what month?

What is the name of the President’s house?

When we place votes to choose a new president, we hold an ___________.

What is the name of the ceremony that takes place when a new president is sworn into office?

The President is also called the Commander in _________.

Name one of the presidents whose birthday is also this month.

Was our first president elected or appointed?

When a president chooses not to sign a new bill into law, he returns the unsigned bill to the Congress. This special Presidential action is a called a ______.

What is the name of the President’s office in the White House?Name two first ladies.

What was the nickname of a president, and how did he get that nickname?

In what month are presidential elections held?

Name a president who died in office.

Name a Vice President who went on to become President.

Give the name of a Presidential pet, and which president that pet belonged to.

Why is there no school on Presidents’ Day?

Additional Resources for Presidents’ Day topics:

Valentines Activities and Lesson Ideas

Find all of our Valentine’s Day crafts, activities, and lesson ideas in one place. Just click here for a complete listing.

DIY: Art Turntables for the Classroom

By Lee Shiney

As a professional artist (see the footnote below), one way I have chosen to share my artwork is with DIY projects. Because much of my work is made using turntables, I wanted to find a way to make turntables from readily-available components. This result is the first of my projects to be accepted by Wichita, Kansas-based Arts Partners for inclusion in their classroom-based programs. It’s not intended to be a lesson plan, but rather, is an attempt to show what the possibilities are for fun art projects that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

While looking for an inexpensive way to make turntables for classroom use, I stumbled onto using two plastic cups, one inside the other. The two key components to making this work are dead simple – (1) I insert a shim between the two, preferably plastic, that is thick enough to allow one cup to spin on top of the other when they are upside down. (2) The bottom of the cup needs to be slightly concave. With enough of a rounding of the bottom of the cup, it makes the cup spin on a very small point, thus reducing friction. The penny glued to the center of the plastic gives the cup a more durable point to spin on. With cups facing downward, some extra stability is gained. From there, all that is needed to finish a turntable is to glue, or even tape, a piece of cardboard onto the top cup.

Marker drawing on paper using DIY turntableThat’s the building part. Making the art is simply a coordinated process of turning the cardboard by hand, while zig-zagging a marker back and forth. Don’t try to “make” wavy lines. The moving turntable will do the work for you. A simple straight-line stroke is all that is needed. Practice.

This homemade turntable can give children a great opportunity to make their own “spin art” using markers or paint. Through experimentation, they can learn about concentric circles, spirals, and the “Spirograph”-type flower petal motifs that come with experimentation and skill. Think of various household tools or toys that have motors that could be put into use in motorizing the turntable; one example is to chuck a pencil (with eraser) into an electric drill. Another would be to use a motorized car, held under the table. Improvise and explore.

Lee and Lajean Shiney are the original creators and publishers of Following successful cancer treatment in 2001, Lee Shiney made a career change and became a full-time working artist. He blogs at, his complete portfolio is at, and he has small, inexpensive work available in his Etsy store.

“A while back, as I was thinking about the fluctuation of income associated with being a full-time fine artist, I determined that if I wasn’t selling much artwork at any given moment, I should try giving something away. This took the form of sharing my talents (mostly in the classroom through Arts Partners), and sharing my artwork by making small pieces that were inexpensive enough that my friends could actually afford to buy them. An offshoot from this was setting up an Etsy shop. Buying some of the small works there really does help fund me as an artist, and you receive original hand-made art, not cheap prints. You really should check them out. They make great Valentine’s Day presents for your secret buddy at school. Just say no to the traditional hearts-on-a-mug!”