TeachersFirst's Resources for Elections

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Whether it is a presidential year or an off-year election cycle, there are many excellent election resources on the web to help your students understand and become involved in the electoral process. This collection highlights the TeachersFirst editors' favorite election resources for all levels.

If you wish to choose from a more extensive list election-related resources or to narrow your list for a specific topic and grade level, use the search tool at the left of this page.

 

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Help Lincoln Get to the White House - National Park Service

Grades
5 to 12
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This interactive timeline shows the route Lincoln took to become the President. Along the way, answer questions about his progress and life. ...more
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This interactive timeline shows the route Lincoln took to become the President. Along the way, answer questions about his progress and life.

tag(s): elections (67), lincoln (82), presidents (119)

In the Classroom

Have younger students create an online book of images and captions about Lincoln's life using Bookr, reviewed here, (Bookr uses Flickr images, so you must first upload or find the images on Flickr). For older students - challenge cooperative learning groups (or partners) to create a similar story about another president using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site StoryBird, reviewed here. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
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Smart Voter - League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Grades
8 to 12
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Smart Voter provides nonpartisan information about elections and voting. Information includes lists of upcoming elections and ballot issues as well as candidate information. Enter your...more
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Smart Voter provides nonpartisan information about elections and voting. Information includes lists of upcoming elections and ballot issues as well as candidate information. Enter your address to view your polling place and voter registration information. Individual candidates provide bio information, and it is not checked for accuracy, it is, however, reviewed to make sure content does not refer to opposing candidates.

tag(s): elections (67)

In the Classroom

Include Smart Voter as part of any election unit. Have students research candidate information and compare and contrast points of view. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here, to present information about candidates or ballot topics.

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Latino Vote Map - Latino Decisions

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8 to 12
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The Latino Vote Map takes an interactive look at the Latino vote in the 2012 election. Move the slider bars to change the Latino Portion of the US electorate to ...more
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The Latino Vote Map takes an interactive look at the Latino vote in the 2012 election. Move the slider bars to change the Latino Portion of the US electorate to view changes in state voting when the Latino population increases or decreases. Another slider allows for adjustment to the voting percentage of Latinos to see changes based on voting percentages. To view more in-depth information such as growth in Latino voters, portion of the state electorate, and the total number of Latino eligible voters click on each state. Click the "Copy Data" link to copy information to your clipboard and paste into any program such as Word. Scroll further down the page to find a state by state summary.

tag(s): elections (67), electoral college (12), hispanic (17)

In the Classroom

Although the Latino Vote Map specifically looks at the 2012 election, it is still useful as a tool for teaching any election unit. Show the map on an interactive whiteboard or projector and discuss changes based on moving the sliders. Have students predict what will happen before moving the sliders. Challenge students to create a timeline using Dipity, reviewed here, to track data about Latino voters in upcoming elections or previous elections. Have students compare how many Latinos are currently registered to vote with how many live in the area and draw conclusions from that information. Include information from this site to create a newspaper using a site such as Zinepal, reviewed here. Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."

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Flackcheck - Annenberg Classroom

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8 to 12
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Discover and learn how to recognize flaws in political arguments and advertisements with Flackcheck. Browse the Video Wire to find fact checks on viral emails, the latest videos, and...more
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Discover and learn how to recognize flaws in political arguments and advertisements with Flackcheck. Browse the Video Wire to find fact checks on viral emails, the latest videos, and recent speeches and debates. Choose the Patterns of Deception to take an in-depth look at the art of deception in many current political debates. Other portions of the site explore the Lincoln/McClellan election of 1864, election of 2012, Affordable Care Act, and more. Some of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): advertising (31), elections (67), politics (91)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation with the information they learn. Take advantage of the free lesson plan to include with your election unit. This site is excellent for enrichment. Post a link to FlackCheck on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students use StepUp.io, reviewed here, to grab other examples of patterns of deception from online video sources such as YouTube or Dailymotion quickly and easily. Have students create a word cloud of commonly used deceptive words using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here or WordItOut, reviewed here.
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PBS Newshour Extra - PBS NewsHour Productions LLC

Grades
7 to 12
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Find news and resources for grades 7-12 at PBS Newshour Extra. Search the site by Subject Area, Videos, Arts and Media, Science, and more. Explore news articles written for students...more
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Find news and resources for grades 7-12 at PBS Newshour Extra. Search the site by Subject Area, Videos, Arts and Media, Science, and more. Explore news articles written for students with the background and context needed to understand complex topics. The Daily Videos are ad-free and have related stories along the right side of the page. Read the current events news stories and follow the Extra Twitter feed. Don't miss the many free lesson plans including current events, American history, health, government, holidays, and more. Lesson plans are all aligned to the Common Core standards. Lesson plan topics vary from "Personal reflections on the poetry of Maya Angelou" to "Selma to Montgomery: An introduction to the 1965 marches" and countless others! Look for the Student Voices and Student Reporting Labs for those who would like to be published or to help a local PBS station produce the news.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): civil rights (100), elections (67), holocaust (39), memorial day (13), news (175), poetry (219), video (209)

In the Classroom

Watch the news together on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to watch independently on laptops or at a learning station. Use any video or article as a current events writing prompt. Challenge students to create blog posts about them using Throwww ( reviewed here). Throwww allows you to create "quick and easy" blog posts for one-time use only. Don't forget the many free lesson plans (already aligned to Common Core standards). Click on the Lesson Plans link to explore the countless topics available (Poetry, Veterans, Elections, Ebola, Civil Rights, and more). For articles and videos about conflicts and tension, you might want to have your students engage in a debate using a tool such as ProConIt, reviewed here. Keep your class up-to-date on the news using this site. Provide this link on your class website for students (and families) to access both in and out of your classroom.
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Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less - Newseum Digital Classroom

Grades
9 to 12
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The Newseum pulls together an enormous collection of primary sources about the women's suffrage movement, with rich resources for using these primary sources in an educational setting....more
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The Newseum pulls together an enormous collection of primary sources about the women's suffrage movement, with rich resources for using these primary sources in an educational setting. There is an interactive timeline, a "media map" that plots primary sources on a US map for a visual representation of the geography of the movement, and nearly a dozen lesson plans (including videos) that feature the use of primary sources to broaden understanding. The site requires registration to use, but there is no cost.

tag(s): civil rights (100), women (91), womens suffrage (17)

In the Classroom

It can be tempting to relegate resources like this one to a special unit during Women's History Month, but the primary sources here need to be integrated throughout any study of civil rights in general and the importance of universal suffrage to a modern democracy. While the sources may all be related to the fight for votes for women, much of the content is also relevant in understanding the social and political history of the United States, particularly during the 19th and early 20th century. The lesson plans are comprehensive and include printable discussion guides and worksheets, as well as extension activities. They are standards aligned and Common Core compatible. Some of the extension activities mention using tools such as Glogster. Find alternatives that may allow more extensive free access by exploring the TeachersFirst Edge .
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Voting America: United States Politics 1840-2008 - University of Richmond

Grades
7 to 12
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans...more
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans have voted in both Presidential and Congressional elections can provide useful context. In a democracy, the power of popular elections to affect the lives of all citizens cannot be understated. In order to understand how changes in population--demography and distribution--have affected popular elections, it's important to see those changes in perspective. On this site, you can look at Presidential elections or Congressional elections, as well as population maps focused on African American and White population changes over the time period. Most of the maps are based on an advancing time line that maps data over time. For Presidential elections, there are also more detailed maps for each separate election.

tag(s): congress (26), elections (67), electoral college (12), maps (269), presidents (119), timelines (59)

In the Classroom

These maps, powerful when projected on an interactive whiteboard (or projector), make the impact of changes in population demographics and distribution visual. The maps might also provide a good resource for students studying a particular President or time period. Challenge students to create a newspaper about what they have learned (about the President or time period). Use a tool such as Zinepal (reviewed here). Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."

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Teaching Literacy Through History - Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Grades
K to 12
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Meet your ELA standards as you teach history! Explore over 40 free lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards. Browse all lesson plans or use the search feature to ...more
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Meet your ELA standards as you teach history! Explore over 40 free lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards. Browse all lesson plans or use the search feature to find lessons by keywords or grade level. Every lesson contains all materials and procedures needed. Sign up for a free subscription using your school email address to access all information.

tag(s): american revolution (76), bill of rights (27), black history (50), civil rights (100), columbus day (11), constitution (73), elections (67), electoral college (12), franklin (11), gettysburg (29), lincoln (82), roosevelt (15), symbols (20), terrorism (45), thanksgiving (32), washington (31), world war 1 (48), world war 2 (147)

In the Classroom

Use ideas from the lesson plans to supplement your current teaching materials. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their learning from the notes they took during the lesson. Use Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here. Challenge students to find a photo that represents a part of the lesson taught. Have students create a simple multimedia presentation using Yodio, reviewed here.. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Use Creative Commons images (with credit, of course). Try Compfight, reviewed here.
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Patchwork Nation - Jefferson Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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Is the US a melting pot? A tossed salad? The Jefferson Institute suggests it is a "Patchwork Nation." This site was originally developed to chronicle the 2008 US Presidential election,...more
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Is the US a melting pot? A tossed salad? The Jefferson Institute suggests it is a "Patchwork Nation." This site was originally developed to chronicle the 2008 US Presidential election, but has been maintained and updated since that time. It presents the vast diversity of the United States using demographic data and categorizing communities into one of a dozen community types. With names like "Campus and Careers," "Military Bastions," and "Evangelical Epicenters" each community type represents an important subset of what makes up the American Experience. This site drills down much deeper than the typical red state/blue state dichotomy and challenges us to think about what characteristics work to define US citizens.

tag(s): branches of government (42), census (20), communities (28), democracy (14), demographics (17), politics (91)

In the Classroom

This site could be useful in a variety of classroom settings. A sociology class might grapple with the generalizations inherent in each of the 12 community types. What does it mean to be a "Tractor Country" community? The associated charts and demographics can help prove or disprove those theories. A government class might consider the impact of these different community types all existing within one Congressional district. How might that legislator best represent those communities at the State level or the Federal level? An economics class might speculate on the distribution of wealth in the US. What factors influence that distribution? A US History class could speculate about how these different communities have come to be. What impact has immigration had? Industrialization? Geography? Are there regional differences that could stem from the Civil War? And a statistics class would find plenty of raw data to play around with. In a "Patchwork Nation," what does it mean to be "average"?
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The ReDistricting Game - USC Annenberg Center

Grades
8 to 12
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Learn, explore, and discover the realities of political redistricting through this intriguing game. Explore how abuses undermine the system and learn about reform initiatives. Play...more
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Learn, explore, and discover the realities of political redistricting through this intriguing game. Explore how abuses undermine the system and learn about reform initiatives. Play each of the five missions in the fictional location of Jefferson. Choose from basic or advanced levels. To move through each mission, you must achieve mission goals and receive approval of the legislature as well as the governor. Following that, the plan must pass any court challenges before receiving approval.

tag(s): congress (26), maps (269), politics (91)

In the Classroom

This game is a MUST during any unit on the electoral process or about Congress and Congressional districts! Introduce the ReDistricting Game on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow older students to explore on their own or in small groups. Take screen shots of different redistricting options and have students share their experiences in mapping out favorable and non-approved districts. Challenge students to create presentations arguing why their redistricting plans are the best. Use a tool such as Infinite Canvas (reviewed here) to create online montages using images, slideshows, and more.
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CurriConnects Booklist: By the People - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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Find books about how our U.S. government works and how to take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, ...more
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Find books about how our U.S. government works and how to take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, how our government works, and the tough decisions that people make -- both citizens and those who work in government. Discover civics-related topics such as voting, creating laws, enforcing laws, and the underlying principles of democracy. The collection includes both true and fictional tales about communities and government and books for all grade levels. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles''''® to match student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. For more on text complexity and Lexiles''''®, see this information from the Lexile Framework. Don't miss other CurriConnects themes being added regularly. If your library does not have the books, try interlibrary loan!

tag(s): book lists (107), branches of government (42), congress (26), constitution (73), presidents (119)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to select independent reading from this list as part of a citizenship unit, as a focus for Constitution Day, or in a civics/government class.

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The Curriculum Corner - Jill McEldowney and Cathy Henry

Grades
K to 5
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Find ready-to-go lessons and materials for 1st and 2nd grades to meet many of the Common Core standards. Many of the materials could also be useful with students in grades ...more
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Find ready-to-go lessons and materials for 1st and 2nd grades to meet many of the Common Core standards. Many of the materials could also be useful with students in grades 3-5. Begin by choosing from topics such as Reading, Math, Classroom Management, or Seasonal. Within each topic find a list of lessons or activities. Look under Classroom Management to find a link to Common Core "I Can" printables, reading logs, and checklists for grades K-5. Choose from different subjects for each checklist along with the option of borderless design or clip art poster. Don't let the juvenile look of this site or the abundance of advertising fool you. There are a lot of wonderful resources to be found with just a little bit of searching!
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tag(s): addition (233), back to school (41), behavior (40), biographies (47), charts and graphs (190), data (146), division (160), elections (67), guided reading (47), literacy (92), magnetism (29), money (182), multiplication (212), narrative (23), organizational skills (102), plants (134), poetry (219), problem solving (219), readers theater (9), reading strategies (31), rocks (45), subtraction (193), time (139), writers workshop (21)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a lesson resource throughout the year. This is a great site to peruse over the summer or use for back to school planning. Use this site to learn more about Common Core. Print the "I Can" checklists for use in student folders as part of your yearly assessment. Send a copy home to parents so that they see the yearly standards and goals for each subject.
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Center for Civic Education - Center for Civic Education

Grades
5 to 12
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The Center for Civic Education offers this site loaded with information and resources that support the democratic process. Choose the resources tab to take advantage of many lesson...more
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The Center for Civic Education offers this site loaded with information and resources that support the democratic process. Choose the resources tab to take advantage of many lesson plans for all grade levels on topics such as President's Day, voting, Women's History Month, and many more. Choose the More Lesson Plans link to see a list of all lessons sorted by grade levels from K-12. Another interesting portion of the site is found at the media tab. Choose from video or photo galleries or the 60 Second Civics option. 60 Second Civics is a daily podcast accompanied with a short question. Previous podcasts are archived for access at your convenience. Subscribe with iTunes or Podcast Alley or visit the page to listen.
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tag(s): branches of government (42), civil rights (100), constitution (73), democracy (14), elections (67), electoral college (12), lincoln (82), martin luther king (33), presidents (119), sept11 (22), washington (31)

In the Classroom

Share a link to the podcasts via your web page or blog. Have students answer the daily question then respond with a short journal entry or with comments on your webpage. Use lesson resources to supplement your current curriculum or commemorate events such as 9/11, MLK Day, Presidents Day, or Constitution Day. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Assign videos to groups of students to view then report to the class. Rather than a traditional report, challenge cooperative learning groups to collaborate on a topic found on the site using Titanpad reviewed here to share ideas and information.
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Electing the President - How Do You Make Up Your Mind? - History News Network

Grades
5 to 8
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History News Network offers this lesson plan challenging students to analyze election issues, compare and contrast opinions, and think about the process of choosing a president. Download...more
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History News Network offers this lesson plan challenging students to analyze election issues, compare and contrast opinions, and think about the process of choosing a president. Download the lesson in PowerPoint format using the link provided, as well as the accompanying worksheet for student use. The worksheet is in Word format. Modify it as necessary to meet your own needs. If you are unable to download the PowerPoint, find procedures and information for teaching on the lesson's main page. That should provide enough information for planning and presenting the lesson. Common Core standards are included.
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tag(s): elections (67), electoral college (12), presidents (119)

In the Classroom

Select components of the lesson as a supplement to your current election unit. Print the worksheet for students to use to identify topics that are important to them. Use information from this lesson to study and consider the influence of Social Media on elections, Have students use Screenr (reviewed here) to make narrated recordings about the use of social media, political advertisements, or any other election topic after completing the lesson on this site.
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People's Pie - iCivics.org

Grades
5 to 12
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People's Pie is a simulation where YOU control all of the money of the United States. Start by setting taxes to fund government programs. Set the age for citizens to ...more
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People's Pie is a simulation where YOU control all of the money of the United States. Start by setting taxes to fund government programs. Set the age for citizens to receive entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Be careful; set taxes too high or entitlement age too high, and the citizens will be unhappy! Next, make funding decisions for services such as military, finances, and more while viewing citizen satisfaction along the way. Use available options for borrowing money, but beware of high interest rates! The goal is to make it through three budget years; however, the game ends early if citizen dissatisfaction is high. Be sure to check out the quick overview and instruction guide located here. Although login and registration are available on the site, they aren't necessary to play the game. Choose "no thanks" at the prompt to begin play.

tag(s): branches of government (42), financial literacy (69)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the basic concepts of the challenge on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then allow students to play on their own on the whiteboard or classroom computers, keeping a log of their actions and results. Have students create "talking pictures" to debate funding (or lack of) for a particular budget item using Fotobabble reviewed here. Use this game as a springboard for an economics or government class to debate and discuss the impact of financial decisions on different segments of the community. Have students research current candidates' financial plans and play the game using the politician's strategies. Have students compare and contrast the impact on the economy.
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AllSides - John Gable

Grades
4 to 12
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Look at political, national and international issues from all sides: left, right, and center. Colored banners identify the perspective. Current content focuses on political discussions,...more
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Look at political, national and international issues from all sides: left, right, and center. Colored banners identify the perspective. Current content focuses on political discussions, but as the site evolves the plan is to include other topics such as health care, finances, and parenting. Find other specific topics by choosing the issues tab, then choosing from keywords such as energy, taxes, or violence in America. Choose from different tabs to view issues, bias, and the site's blog. Especially interesting is the bias section. Users rate their own bias on several issues to determine their bias toward left, center, or right. Email signup is available to become involved with the site but isn't necessary to access all of the articles and content.
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tag(s): elections (67), media literacy (45), politics (91)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site to easily find topics presented from various points of view. Use articles with students to demonstrate point of view in writing, bias in media, or for students to use as points for debates. Use an online tool such as Interactive Three Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of different points of view.

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National Mock Election - National Student/Parent Mock Election

Grades
3 to 12
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The My Voice National Student Mock Election is facilitating comprehensive online voting through a registration process. They are also providing curriculum resources for elementary through...more
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The My Voice National Student Mock Election is facilitating comprehensive online voting through a registration process. They are also providing curriculum resources for elementary through high school grade levels. Registration is optional. It provides access to online voting beginning in October (exact date will change yearly). Choose the curriculum link to find lesson plans with assessments, collaborative learning options, and handouts. Also click the Curriculum Resources link and then Educational Resources to find interactives, links to teacher resources, and current campaign advertisements.

tag(s): civil rights (100), constitution (73), elections (67)

In the Classroom

Use this website to enlighten your students about the election process. The website can be used anytime (not just during the election season). Use the open-ended questions provided as writing prompts for students to write in their journals or class blog. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) to display responses to prompts. Generate ideas for a related research project--or simply have students create a quick "concept collection" of what they learn about elections by making word clouds using Word It Out reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Connect the Dots for Democracy - Witte Design, LLC

Grades
8 to 12
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Address important issues about government policy through the use of infographics with the goal of uncomplicating things for "busy folks like yourself." Government policy discussions...more
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Address important issues about government policy through the use of infographics with the goal of uncomplicating things for "busy folks like yourself." Government policy discussions are increasingly dominated by the media, and each side of the debate spends as much time trying to "spin" the discussion as it does simply communicating the facts. The graphics on this site are extremely well presented. Choose from among several important issues: Jobs, the Deficit, Health Care, Political Language, and the Federal Budget. Each topic includes a slideshow of infographics, a written script to accompany the slides, questions for discussion, and the ability to print a booklet that includes the graphics and text highlights.

What's missing? There is no audio recording of the script that could accompany the slides; you must print the script and read it while viewing the slides. And, despite its goal of "making it simple" for busy folks, you have to dig a little in the site to discover that the author is firmly in the "Progressive" political camp, and that the presentation on Health Care, for example, includes one section on "GOP Myths" and repeatedly slams the Republican party's handling of the health care crisis. To its credit, the sources for the information presented on the graphics are cited. Be aware also that the graphics use language like "We're Getting Screwed!" which may be inappropriate for younger kids.

tag(s): branches of government (42), congress (26), elections (67), media literacy (45), politics (91)

In the Classroom

The infographic presentations would be great for discussions of election-year politics for Civics/Government classes or Current Events debate. They would be better if the accompanying scripts were available in an audio file. Exercise caution, however, because there is clearly a political agenda here. Ironic that a site that purports to cut through the rhetoric is loaded with its own. Use it, therefore, as yet another example of how a savvy media can "spin" the issues. Invite students to look for the bias inherent in some of the information presented. What questions should be asked about the data contained in the slideshow? How could you verify the information? How would you rebut it with your own infographic? Can you find a site that presents an opposing spin on the same topics?

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U.S. Political Conventions and Campaigns - Northeastern University

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn all about U.S. political campaigns and party conventions. Five main sections explain it all: History, Campaign Finance, Nominations, Policy, and Media. Within each section are...more
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Learn all about U.S. political campaigns and party conventions. Five main sections explain it all: History, Campaign Finance, Nominations, Policy, and Media. Within each section are videos and articles about the current state of affairs as well as past practices. Each section offers lesson plans suitable for high school use. Each section also offers short review quizzes that provide instant feedback. Scroll through each section in order or choose from portions with links at the top of the section.

tag(s): elections (67), electoral college (12)

In the Classroom

Although lesson plans are geared to high school, this site is also useful for students in lower grades. Go directly to the quiz portion of each section, display on your interactive whiteboard, and take the quiz as a class as an overview of what students know about the election process. View sections on your interactive whiteboard to help students understand the different facets of a campaign. Assign students (or groups) different sections; then have them present information learned to their classmates. Create posters about the American political process using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here.

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