To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, have your class join a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the famous speech. Then, on April 15th, tune in for the premiere of The Address on PBS, a 90-minute feature length documentary by Ken Burns that tells the story of the Greenwood School, a tiny school in Putney, Vermont, where the students are encouraged to practice, memorize, and recite the Gettysburg Address each year. In its exploration of the Greenwood School, the film also unlocks the history, context and importance of President Lincoln’s most powerful address.
To get your students motivated, use videos from PBS LearningMedia’s Learn the Address collection from WETA, showing everyone from President Obama to Taylor Swift to Bill Gates to Elmo reciting those now infamous words. The recordings housed in this collection will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the power of history and take the challenge to learn the address. This collection along with other resources in PBS LearningMedia are sure to have your students coming back for more. And check out our recent interview with Ken Burns.
Learn the Address | Collection | Grades K-12
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech.
Stephen Colbert Recites the Address | Video | Grades K-12
Watch Stephen Colbert recite the Gettysburg Address as part of Ken Burns’ challenge to all Americans to LEARN THE ADDRESS.
Abraham Lincoln Portraits | Images | Grades K-13+
This media gallery features images of President Abraham Lincoln from the Bridgeman Art Library.
Mary Todd Lincoln | Image | Grades K-13+
Photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln. She was the wife of President Abraham Lincoln and the First Lady of the United States (1861-1865).
Looking for Lincoln | Collection | Grades 1-12
Looking for Lincoln explores the life and legacy of the man widely considered one of our best and most enigmatic presidents. The PBS series, presented and written by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (African American Lives, Oprah’s Roots), addresses many of the controversies surrounding Lincoln – race, equality, religion, politics, and depression – by carefully interpreting evidence from those who knew him and those who study him today.
The Gettysburg Address | Document | Grades 4-12
The Gettysburg Address
What Else Was Happening…? | Interactive | Grades 5-8
In this activity, students will explore changes that occurred in the United States in the greater context of the Civil War era. Students will gain an understanding of the simultaneous nature of these events and the multifaceted nature of American government during wartime.
Abraham Lincoln Takes a National Role | Collection | Grades 6-12
As a young man, Lincoln’s personable demeanor and service in the 1832 Black Hawk War increased his profile enough to get him elected to a seat in the state legislature in 1834, where he became an influential voice in the state senate as a member of the Whig Party and a moderate critic of the practice of slavery. Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois in 1837, where he began to practice law. After he left the legislature in 1841, he met and courted Mary Todd, the future Mrs. Lincoln. These events mark the beginning of Lincoln’s ascension into the national spotlight that would eventually lead him to the oval office. This primary source set includes documents that chronicle Lincoln’s rise to national prominence.
The Gettysburg Address | Video | Grades 6-12
This clip from Lincoln@Gettsyburg focuses on President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, explaining the meaning of the Address line by line. At an especially important time in United States history, and in just 272 words, Lincoln’s Address defined the meaning of democracy, providing an ideal for which to strive.
Procession into Gettysburg | Image | Grades 6-12
Photograph of the procession in Gettysburg on the day of the dedication to the National Cemetery where President Lincoln would give his famous address.
President Lincoln at Gettysburg | Image | Grades 6-12
This photograph is the only existing photograph of President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863.
Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency | Video | Grades 6-13+
In this clip from Genealogy Roadshow, view a brief introduction to the key political issues facing President Abraham Lincoln during his first and second terms, including Southern secession and the Civil War, and his assassination.
Emancipation Proclamation (1863) | Document | Grades 6-13+
This document includes an image of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, announcing, “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious areas “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
Sandburg & Lincoln | Video | Grades 7-12
This video from American Masters: The Day Carl Sandburg Died highlights Carl Sandburg’s biography of Abraham Lincoln. Known for his poetry, Sandburg began writing a short story about Lincoln meant for children. It soon became a six volume biography that changed the way Americans viewed Lincoln and the Civil War.
What Does He Have to Say to Us Today? | Video | Grades 9-12
In this video segment from the documentary American Masters: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, Bill T. Jones and his Associate Artistic Director, Janet Wong, turn to primary texts to learn more about Abraham Lincoln. In an effort to make Lincoln relevant in the performance piece, Jones and Wong begin their research but along the way discover surprising attitudes, ideas and statements reflective of the controversies that exist around Lincoln today.