Lesson Plans Johnson, Lady Bird


Johnson, Lady Bird
The Flying Inauguration of the “Sudden President”
President Kennedy was shot and killed on November 22, 1963, resulting in shock and heartache throughout the nation.  During this time, Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, the Vice President’s wife, was riding behind President Kennedy’s car and could not believe what was happening around her at that very moment.  She felt as though she was viewing a Greek Tragedy but then realized she would have to fulfill a large role that unexpectedly awaited her on that very day as Mr. Johnson was sworn into presidency.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Johnson, Lady Bird
Create a Park! A Place to Play and Plant Flowers
One of Claudia (Lady Bird) Johnson’s interests was developing a beautiful environment through cultivating and planting.  Developing a park system was one way she could create a beautiful and clean environment for everyone to enjoy.  She was so involved in this effort that a park was named in her honor and another park was dedicated to Lady Bird at the island in the Potomac River in Washington D.C.  In this lesson, students will explore some of the work involved in establishing and developing a park.  Students can use their imagination in planning an imaginary park in their area.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: First Ladies' Lives

Johnson, Lady Bird
Skateboards: Their Life and Times
Although skateboards were invented before 1960, they were not very popular.  The first skateboards consisted of four clay wheels attached to a 4-inch wide piece of lumber.  Later, crates were attached to them, with handles for steering.  You might say that the first skateboards were scooters rather than the skateboards of today.  Skateboards grew in popularity when a few famous surfers in California used them in the early 1960’s.  Unfortunately, because of the danger involved in early skateboarding, popularity of the sport came to a screeching halt in only two years.   This lesson introduces students to the early history of skateboarding and involves poetry in the final product.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

Johnson, Lady Bird
Martin Luther King Jr.: Exploring the Purveyor of Peace through Photos
Martin Luther King was a major proponent of the Civil Rights Act, passed in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson.  Many events occurred surrounding this bill, especially events that led to its development.  The real question is, “Who was Martin Luther King?”  This lesson will involve students learning about the life of Martin Luther King.  Students will create a pictorial timeline depicting several important events in Martin Luther King’s life.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Johnson, Lady Bird
The Surgeon General Warns of Smoking Effects
In 1963 the U.S. Surgeon General formulated a statement “declaring cigarette smoking to be a health hazard and a major cause of lung cancer and other deadly diseases.” Today, the health hazards of tobacco smoke continue to be reinforced and take its toll on millions of people worldwide.  President Johnson smoked three packs of cigarettes a day until his first heart attack, which caused him to quit.  Smoking was likely a major contributing factor to his death of a second heart attack in 1974.  Besides making the user more susceptible to cancer, smoking can cause significant damage to the heart and most other organs. Lady Bird Johnson also smoked.  When President Johnson stopped smoking after his first heart attack, he was known for being a very formidable anti-smoking proponent, so much so that when Lady Bird Johnson would light a cigarette, he would take it.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Science, Medicine, Inventions and tech

Johnson, Lady Bird
Diary of a First Lady: The Experience of Voice and Text
Lady Bird Johnson, as the wife of the Vice President, was riding in the car immediately behind the President’s car when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.   Like many First Ladies, Lady Bird kept a diary of her experiences.  What is different about her diary is that portions of it were initially done with a voice recorder rather than in writing.  The voice was then transcribed into written documents, which she then revised.  In 1970 she published the diary, “White House Diary” and then in 1981 a film was produced, “The First Lady, A portrait of Lady Bird Johnson.” In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to listen to her voice diary (via the Internet), then complete their own week-long diary only using a voice recording device, then transcribing and editing one day of their diary.
Skill: Middle School     Category: First Ladies' Lives

Johnson, Lady Bird
Fashion Trends in the 1960s: Hippies, Flower Children, and Design
Fashion cycled once again.  This is the decade of the hippie.  The 1960’s brought many changes to the fashion industry, possibly reflecting the attitudes of the young people who wore the clothing.  President and First Lady Johnson would have seen this clothing style all around—you would have to wonder what they thought of the trend, especially since their daughters would have been teenagers at the time.   This lesson teaches students about the fashion trends of the 1960’s.  They will research, draw, and possibly even wear clothing styles of the 1960’s.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

Johnson, Lady Bird
Vietnam and the Vote
During the time of the Vietnam War men and women were being drafted at the age of 18 but were not permitted to vote until they turned 21.  Many protestors and others were asking the question, “We are considered mature enough to die for our country in war, but not mature enough to vote?”  It was argued that if a young man could work, pay taxes, and go to war for his country, he ought to have the right to vote for those in the federal, state, and local positions making the decisions about the war and issues about taxes.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Johnson, Lady Bird
Exploring Wildflowers and Plants Through the Wildflower Center
Lady Bird enjoyed flowers as well as being an activist (Beautification Act of 1965) for the environment.  In 1982, Lady Bird donated 60 acres and $125,000 for the National Wildflower Research Center.  The national membership expanded in time with a total of 7,500 members.  The center sponsored events and researched ways to use wild flowers.  An idea was conceived to plant wild flowers along the edge of the roadways and highways, which saved millions of dollars annually since the need for mowing and maintenance was decreased.
Skill: High School/College     Category: First Ladies' Lives

Johnson, Lady Bird
The War on Poverty: How Far Have We Come?
President Johnson was aware and concerned about the poverty and urban riots during this time period.  He declared a “War on Poverty” and created programs such as “Upward Bound” and “Head Start”.  Lady Bird also focused on the urban issues and her love of children.  She became involved and supported the “Head Start” program by visiting classrooms and presenting support speeches.  At one point when funding was in jeopardy on the floor of Congress, she intervened to ensure the funding.  During this time Lady Bird traveled the U.S. for support to beautify the roads, urban America, and America in general. 
Skill: High School/College     Category: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Johnson, Lady Bird
Muhammad Ali and the Olympics
The year was 1960; the place, Rome, Italy.  Muhammad Ali won the Olympic gold medal in lightweight boxing. While Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson were unknowingly preparing for Presidency, Muhammad Ali was a rising star in the boxing world.  This lesson places students in the United States in 1960 using photographs of Muhammad Ali taken at the time.  Students will compose newspaper articles about the photographs using their imagination to generate the story.  The best article of each student will be compiled into a class newspaper from 1960.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

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