Bell Ringers
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By Mrsbenalayat
On July 14, 2020

Bell Ringer: Special Sessions of Congress: Truman's Turnip Day Speech

President Truman's Turnip Day Special Session

At the 1948 Democratic National Convention, President Truman delivered his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. He announced he would call the Congress back into a special session.


This Bell Ringer can be used after students have been introduced to the government’s system of checks and balances. Students will explore an example of one of the President’s checks on the legislative branch. President Truman called for a special session of Congress during his reelection campaign in 1948. Truman called this special session for July 26, 1948, this date in Missouri is annually known as Turnip Day. Students will hear from Truman directly on why he calls Congress back into session. You may use this bell ringer with the whole class. Have students turn and talk with a partner to answer the questions. Have some of the groups share their answers. Teacher can also opt to use the worksheet in the Additional Resources section and assign it to students through Google Classroom, Schoology, or other platform.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • What can you infer (conclude) is the meaning of the word poppycock from President Truman’s use of the word and explain why you think Truman used it in this speech?
  • Describe the two items President Truman wanted the Congress to respond to in the Turnip Day Special Session?
  • Explain why Truman's Special Session of Congress is called the Turnip Day session?

Additional Resources



    • Checks And Balances
    • Congress
    • Poppycock
    • President
    • Special Session


    Executive BranchLegislative Branch


    Middle School