Video Writing Prompt: President Obama's Inauguration

Stephen Eldridge, TeachHUB

Presidential inaugurations are occasions for America to come together and celebrate the democratic process that is at the core of our values as a nation. They're also an opportunity for the President to lay out a vision for the term to come. President Obama's inauguration on Monday, January 21st, was an example of both a celebration of America and political rhetoric.

Use these video highlights of the inauguration to get students thinking and writing about American values and how politicians use speeches to communicate.


3-5 American Symbols

The inauguration included lots of symbols of America, such as the American flag, the Washington Monument and the national anthem. Choose one symbol you noticed in the video and write to tell why you think it is a good symbol of our country.

6-8 Political Speech

Politicians often use speeches to express their own values, but on some occasions they also try to unite the country behind shared values. Write a three-paragraph speech of your own that expresses what values you think are important to you and to other Americans. Think about what values unite us all, not only what is important to you.

9-12 Analyzing the Speech

The highlights of the inauguration include the following words from President Obama: "That is our generation's task, to make these words, these rights, these values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American."

What do you think President Obama means by making those values "real"? Do you agree with him that we must make them real for every American? Write three to five paragraphs to explain your thoughts.


Having trouble viewing the video? Click below to watch it.

President Obama's Inauguration


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