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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Rock the Vote - Jeff Ayeroff

Grades
8 to 12
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Rock the Vote is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting young people out to vote. Their home page includes information for voters across the country about voter registration,...more
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Rock the Vote is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting young people out to vote. Their home page includes information for voters across the country about voter registration, where to vote, and election information. Other links direct you to contact information for local and national elected officials. Are you registered to vote? It's easy to find out through Rock the Vote, enter your address and date of birth and find out your registration status.

tag(s): elections (77), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Include a link to Rock the Vote on your class web page for eligible students to access voter registration and other information. Include Rock the Vote as part of any election unit. Have students learn about the latest voting news, explore requirements for voter registration, and discover reasons why it is important to be part of the voting process. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links describing the voter registration process for your state using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here.

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How the Electoral College Works - CGP Grey

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5 to 12
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Many students (and adults) don't fully understand the electoral college process; this short video explains the electoral college in easy to understand terms. The moderator delves into...more
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Many students (and adults) don't fully understand the electoral college process; this short video explains the electoral college in easy to understand terms. The moderator delves into some of the complications and misunderstandings involved with the electoral college and discusses how some U.S. citizens don't have electoral college representation. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (77), electoral college (15)

In the Classroom

Use the site on an interactive whiteboard to illustrate the impact of Electoral College voting on the election of the US President, both today and in the past. Share this video on an interactive whiteboard or projector during election season or a unit on voting and elections. Alternatively, embed it in your class web page for the duration of your elections unit. Have students create their own "in plain English" video about a topic in government and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.

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Electing a US President in Plain English - Common Craft

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5 to 12
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Electing a President in Plain English is a video describing, in simple terms, how the US electoral process works during a presidential election. The video focuses on the influence of...more
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Electing a President in Plain English is a video describing, in simple terms, how the US electoral process works during a presidential election. The video focuses on the influence of population on the overall voting process and provides a quick overview of the general vote and the electoral college. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): elections (77), electoral college (15)

In the Classroom

Share this video on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) as part of any election unit. Have students research the number of electoral votes available in your state. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Piktochart, reviewed here.

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Newsela - Students Vote 2016 - Matthew Gross

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4 to 12
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Create informed citizens and voters with Newsela's Student's Vote 2016. At their reading level, students learn about the candidates and vote in the "student primary." Newsela publishes...more
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Create informed citizens and voters with Newsela's Student's Vote 2016. At their reading level, students learn about the candidates and vote in the "student primary." Newsela publishes high-interest news articles, from the best news sources, at five reading levels. See the TeachersFirst review here.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (77), news (264), newspapers (92), reading comprehension (113)

In the Classroom

If you haven't already, sign up for Newsela and create your class. Add students by using a teacher (or parent) provided code rather than an email address. Go to the Election Text Sets and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading level versions. Be sure to set up a time for your students to vote on election day.

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Channel One News: One Vote - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company

Grades
3 to 12
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Channel One News: One Vote is sure to appeal to and educate young readers. They will meet candidates, and learn how the election process works through engaging videos, infographics,...more
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Channel One News: One Vote is sure to appeal to and educate young readers. They will meet candidates, and learn how the election process works through engaging videos, infographics, and interactive pages. Find a delegate tracker and a field guide to the candidates (both interactive), a Presidential Trail Calendar and Results, information about One Vote's mock election, and more. Scrolling towards the bottom of the landing page you will find 60-second wrap-ups for each week, two quizzes about the importance of voting and where you stand, and various articles.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (77), news (264)

In the Classroom

Make sure your students know what the U.S. primaries are about and why voting is so important. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce One Vote to students. Set up a link on class computers, or at a learning center for students to take the two quizzes. They can learn about why each ballot counts and find a match to the candidate they lean towards. This will help them see where they stand on issues like taxes, immigration, and climate change. Each week show the 60-second wrap up and hold a discussion. Consider using a tool like TodaysMeet, reviewed here, so the quiet and shy students have a chance to participate in the discussion, too. View the information about mock elections to see if you would like to set one up for your class or school. Put a link to this site on your class webpage for students to use at home.
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PBS Election Central - PBS Learning Media

Grades
3 to 12
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Stay up to date with current elections and learn about the electoral process with this all-inclusive site from PBS Learning. Take virtual field trips to the floor of Congress and ...more
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Stay up to date with current elections and learn about the electoral process with this all-inclusive site from PBS Learning. Take virtual field trips to the floor of Congress and Presidential Libraries to explore historical themes. Follow the election process with the interactive map to track candidates as they campaign across the country. Other content examines the election process and takes an inside look at the debates. Be sure to check out the Election Collection containing several activities such as Inside the Voting Booth and You're the Campaign Manager.

tag(s): debate (42), elections (77), electoral college (15), presidents (125), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Include Election Central as part of any election unit. Have students research candidate information and compare and contrast points of view. Use an online tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, or the Interactive Three Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here. Pose a controversial question about an election issue and have students answer as one of the candidates. Use a tool such as WeJIT, reviewed here, for that exercise. Or, challenge students to use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a candidate's journey through the election process. Or, using Fakebook, have two candidates debate an issue. Be sure to take advantage of the free lesson plans offered on this site correlated to National History Standards.
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I Side With - Taylor Peck and Nick Boutelier

Grades
6 to 12
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Two friends with opposing political views created I Side With as a resource for engaging in political discussion and learning about different points of view. Take the online...more
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Two friends with opposing political views created I Side With as a resource for engaging in political discussion and learning about different points of view. Take the online quiz to learn which candidate aligns with your beliefs the most. Explore the many polls on the site to view results from across the country. Break down information from the polls into additional information such as by state, city, party affiliation, ethnicity, and income.

tag(s): elections (77), politics (99), polls and surveys (45)

In the Classroom

I Side With is an excellent resource for use during an election unit. Have students research candidate information and compare and contrast points of view. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, or the Interactive Three Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here. 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. Create a link to the News portion of the site on classroom computers and your class website to use as part of your current events resources.

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NewseumED - Newseum.org

Grades
6 to 12
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Make history relevant to the world today and learn more about First Amendment issues at the same time. Find lesson plans, a multimedia collection of primary sources and artifacts, interactive...more
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Make history relevant to the world today and learn more about First Amendment issues at the same time. Find lesson plans, a multimedia collection of primary sources and artifacts, interactive tools, and worksheets. These are searchable by type, topic, and time-period. The focus of the lessons is historical connections, media literacy, and civics and citizenship. At the time of this review, there were three EdCollections titled "Making a Change," "Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less," and "Freedom in the Balance." The latter focuses on teaching and learning about 9/11 and the attacks in Paris, France 2015, and adhering to the First Amendment freedoms and concerns for safety and the public good. All of this is free with an email sign up.

tag(s): civil rights (110), freedom of speech (7), terrorism (49), terrorist (16)

In the Classroom

If you teach or even discuss civil rights, the First Amendment and its freedoms and ideals, current events, or the presidential elections be sure to look at the lessons provided here. The lessons will also help you show students how to tell facts from opinions in current events. Use ideas from the lesson plans to supplement your current teaching materials. Challenge small groups of students to create a simple infographic sharing their learning from the notes they took during the lesson. Use Piktochart reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Hip Hughes History - Keith Hughes

Grades
8 to 12
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This YouTube channel offers over 300 videos for U.S. and World History, current events, political science, and American Government. Other videos teach test taking and essay writing...more
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This YouTube channel offers over 300 videos for U.S. and World History, current events, political science, and American Government. Other videos teach test taking and essay writing skills. If your district blocks YouTube, then they 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): china (65), classroom management (123), constitution (72), elections (77), foreign policy (16), politics (99), presidents (125), russia (39)

In the Classroom

Show videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector to your class as an introduction to a new unit or class discussion. Flip your lesson and assign videos for students to view at home or in the computer lab and discuss questions at the next class meeting. Prep for this by asking questions during the video using Comment Bubble, reviewed here. Use the videos as a springboard for engaging writing prompts or to spark a discussion connected with a unit of study. Have students create a simple infographic with information learned from videos using Easel.ly, reviewed here. Be sure to check out some of the classroom management tips and advice for new teachers for some fresh ideas to use in your classroom!

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Mr. Beat's Social Studies Channel - Matt Beat

Grades
5 to 12
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Mr. Beat's YouTube Channel provides educational Social Studies videos in a storytelling format. There are a few other topics: Primary and Secondary Sources, Guide to Critical Thinking,...more
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Mr. Beat's YouTube Channel provides educational Social Studies videos in a storytelling format. There are a few other topics: Primary and Secondary Sources, Guide to Critical Thinking, and others. Be sure to check out the music video and song for each of the presidents. Other topics include using Google Earth, Presidential Elections, and Story Time with Mr. Beat. If your district blocks YouTube, then they 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alaska (25), elections (77), explorers (62), gettysburg address (18), lincoln (85), presidents (125), primary sources (83), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Share these videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. FLIP your classroom and have students view the videos at home to discuss and apply the next day in class (this is an excellent option if your school blocks YouTube). Use the videos to introduce any topic and assign others from the series for homework. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students (and their families) to access at home.

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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 (77), lincoln (85), presidents (125)

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 (77)

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 (77), electoral college (15), hispanic (18)

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

Grades
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 (32), elections (77), politics (99)

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 (110), elections (77), holocaust (40), memorial day (13), news (264), poetry (228), video (252), women (100)

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 (110), women (100), womens suffrage (26)

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 (32), elections (77), electoral college (15), maps (284), presidents (125), timelines (63)

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 (84), bill of rights (27), black history (56), civil rights (110), columbus day (12), constitution (72), elections (77), electoral college (15), franklin (12), gettysburg (26), lincoln (85), roosevelt (17), symbols (20), terrorism (49), thanksgiving (37), washington (36), world war 1 (55), world war 2 (156)

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 multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This tool allows narrating and adding text to 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 (47), census (19), communities (37), democracy (12), demographics (18), politics (99)

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 (32), maps (284), politics (99)

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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