State of the Union Address Lesson Plan

By Annie Thornton 01.05.2016 blog

President Obama delivers the annual State of the Union address on January 12, 2016, and we’ve created a lesson plan to familiarize your students with the speech’s history and prepare them to analyze its key issues. We’ve unlocked a selection of Channel One News videos, usually available by subscription only, for you to share with your class as you explore the State of the Union.

Channel One News provides coverage of the president’s State of the Union address each year. Share our videos highlighting the president’s previous speeches to provide your students with context prior to this year’s speech.

Watch: The State of the Union 2014


Check for Understanding

  • What is the State of the Union address?
  • Why must U.S. presidents deliver this speech?
  • What is the purpose of the Republican response to the State of the Union?

Think-Pair-Share: Which of the president’s ideas do you think is the most important? Why? Share your ideas with a partner, then repeat with two more students. Which idea, if any, did you and your partners agree upon?

Watch: The State of the Union 2015

Write: What were the main points of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address? What are some similarities and differences between the president’s 2014 and 2015 speeches? Which of his proposals do you agree with? Why?

Discuss: What do you think the State of The Union address accomplishes for the president? For Congress? For citizens?

Predict: After watching Channel One’s videos about previous State of the Union speeches, what do you think Mr. Obama will say in this year’s upcoming address? How will he assess the state of the union? What priorities will he address? 

Before this year’s State of the Union:

Imagine you were president. The State of the Union is a time for reflection, as well as for asserting the nation’s priorities for the future. What would you say if you were president? How would you rate the current state of affairs in the United States? What would you say should be the nation’s priorities? How would you convince the country of the best way to address these issues?

To get a sense of what it’s like to deliver this important speech, view this panorama inside the House chamber during President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union. And don’t forget about the millions of viewers watching at home!

After this year’s State of the Union: 

Watch the 2016 State of the Union on the White House website.

Explanatory writing: Imagine that you work for the White House, and your job is to share the president’s main ideas through social media. Identify four key points from President Obama’s State of the Union speech. Then summarize them in a series of Tweets to share with America. Be sure to use facts from the speech to form your response.

Analyze the president’s language: Examine the president’s word choices. Which words came up repeatedly in this State of the Union address? How did they influence the tone and overall message of the address? Choose five words that you heard the president emphasize in his speech. Write your own text analysis of President Obama’s address by highlighting the keywords he used consistently and discuss their significance.


Present a State of the Union address about your school or class. Include the collective accomplishments achieved this year so far, as well as what you’d like to achieve by the end of the school year. How do you propose to achieve those goals? Use the president’s address and speaking techniques to guide your presentation.

Write an official response to the president’s 2016 State of the Union. Do you agree or disagree with his main points? Be sure to fully explain your opinions.

Read one State of the Union address from U.S. history. Identify the president and the year the speech was delivered. What important historical events occurred in America that time? What was happening around the world? Provide a summary of the speech’s important points.

Compare/contrast President Obama’s 2015 speech with one of his previous speeches. How are they similar? How do they differ? Be sure to analyze the key points the President presents in both of his speeches.

Additional Resources:

How are you preparing your students for the State of the Union address? Let us know in the comments!


  1. samarria

    I think it a great idea

    • Louis

      I think it’s good tooo!

  2. jeremiah

    i want to talk about it

  3. Landon

    I like the idea of a sound proof relaxing pool

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