John Ibbitson argues that President Trump (at least from his own point of view) had a very successful first year in office. In an editorial a day later entitled If you think Trump is bad now, just wait, The Globe presents a long list of President Trump’s misfires and character flaws.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

History, social studies, current events

Key Question to Explore:

  • What are some of the high points and low points of Mr. Trump’s first year as President of the United States?

New Terminology:

Bigoted, nepotistic, over-weening, hoax, hoodwinked, annulled, collusion

Materials Needed:

Globe articles

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

President Donald Trump has been in office for a year and his record to date is hotly debated. Students can benefit from a sober look at the ups and downs of the first year of his presidency. One of the two attached articles lists his successes, and the other details his shortcomings and foibles. This lesson tasks students with examining both articles to see if their pre-existing views are changed or more informed by them.

Action (lesson plan and task):

Engage students in a short discussion about Donald Trump. Ask: Do you think Mr. Trump has had a successful first year in office, or do you think he has been a disaster, as many suggest? Probe for specific issues, or points. Defer any discussion to later in class, after students have completed their assignments.

As students respond, have volunteers record their responses in two lists on the board. These will be compared to the lists from their oral reports later in class.

Provide students with copies of both articles, and organize them into groups of five or six to a group. Their tasks:

  • Read each article aloud with your group, point by point. After each, ask for a show of hands as to who agrees or disagrees with the point in question. Students may also abstain from voting if they feel they are not sufficiently informed to do so.
  • When you have finished both articles, ask students to list the pluses or minuses that they felt strongest about, or that surprised them the most, from each article.
  • Ask your group which of the successes they disagreed with. For example, tax reform may or may not be viewed as successful legislation. As well, ask which criticisms of Mr. Trump they felt were undeserved or “over the top.”
  • Be prepared to present your findings to the class.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Take the balance of the class to record all the findings of all the groups. For each point in each article, ask for totals for or against from each group. Tally the final numbers and ask whether students are surprised in any way by the results. Compare the types of comments after the exercise with those from the discussion earlier. Ask whether students believe these changes reflect their changed minds about Mr. Trump’s successes or shortcomings.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students can list some of the pluses and minuses of Mr. Trump’s first year in office and offer their own opinion on the subject.

Confirming Activity:

  • Students report on news about developments in the Trump presidency.