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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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 (94), women (88), womens suffrage (14)

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 (24), elections (63), electoral college (11), maps (246), presidents (114), timelines (55)

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 (67), bill of rights (26), black history (50), civil rights (94), columbus day (11), constitution (69), elections (63), electoral college (11), franklin (10), gettysburg (29), lincoln (80), roosevelt (13), symbols (17), terrorism (44), thanksgiving (30), washington (30), world war 1 (38), world war 2 (139)

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

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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 (39), census (20), communities (25), democracy (12), demographics (15), politics (83)

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 (24), maps (246), politics (83)

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 (101), branches of government (39), congress (24), constitution (69), presidents (114)

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 (217), back to school (38), behavior (41), biographies (39), charts and graphs (188), data (143), division (147), elections (63), guided reading (42), literacy (85), magnetism (28), money (177), multiplication (198), narrative (20), organizational skills (98), plants (113), poetry (213), problem solving (190), readers theater (10), reading strategies (28), rocks (40), subtraction (180), time (134), writers workshop (19)

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 (39), civil rights (94), constitution (69), democracy (12), elections (63), electoral college (11), lincoln (80), martin luther king (33), presidents (114), sept11 (20), washington (30)

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 (63), electoral college (11), presidents (114)

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

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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 (39), financial literacy (62)

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

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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 (63), media literacy (43), politics (83)

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

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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 (94), constitution (69), elections (63)

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.
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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 (39), congress (24), elections (63), media literacy (43), politics (83)

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 (63), electoral college (11)

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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Fold U.S. Candidate - Adi Marom

Grades
2 to 12
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Fold a US Candidate is a site that has paper foldable puppets of the US candidates for the 2008 election; however, it is still useful as a resource for templates ...more
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Fold a US Candidate is a site that has paper foldable puppets of the US candidates for the 2008 election; however, it is still useful as a resource for templates for President Obama and Mrs. Obama as well as other famous politicians: Biden, Clinton, Palin, McCain, etc.. Choose a person , click on the name, and the template will open in a new window ready to print in PDF format. There are instructions for cutting and folding, or watch a video demonstrating proper cutting and folding.

tag(s): elections (63), politics (83), presidents (114)

In the Classroom

Use the foldable puppets when studying presidents or during your election unit. Share with students who are preparing presentations of political figures. You can also use this idea to create current candidate foldables from photos. If your students have simple movie making software such as iMovie, they could even act out campaign speeches, interviews, or debates and record them on video. Art teachers may want to use the templates as a guide for students who may want to try creating their own foldable puppets.
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Running for Office--Cartoons of Clifford K. Berryman - The National Archives

Grades
7 to 12
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Each Presidential election cycle brings with it a new crop of political cartoons and caricatures of politicians. Clifford K. Berryman drew political cartoons at the turn of the 20th...more
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Each Presidential election cycle brings with it a new crop of political cartoons and caricatures of politicians. Clifford K. Berryman drew political cartoons at the turn of the 20th century and US Presidents from Grover Cleveland to Harry Truman. This site profiles both the cartoons themselves, and the issues and personalities behind the cartoons. Visually attractive, the site also permits downloading cartoons so they can be printed and studied.

As an important primary source, political cartoons provide an important insight into the issues and controversies of their time period. More than simply who did what, and what happened where, these drawings show us the emotions and conflict involved in the ugly and messy business of politics.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (73), elections (63), politics (83), presidents (114)

In the Classroom

Students can gain insight into the events of the first half of the 20th century as well as draw parallels between the issues of that time and today. How are Presidential campaigns different and how are they similar? Challenge students to create their own political comics using one of TeachersFirst's many comic/cartoon tools reviewed here.

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Show(R) USA - SHOW(R)

Grades
6 to 12
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See a new way to look at the USA (or the World, or Japan). This site resizes countries on the map in relation to various issues: population, resources, employment, religion, ...more
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See a new way to look at the USA (or the World, or Japan). This site resizes countries on the map in relation to various issues: population, resources, employment, religion, death, business, the environment, and more. Each main topic also has numerous sub-topics to explore. Maps adjust to correspond to data. For example, click on "unemployed" on the U.S. map and you see the states in proportion to the number of unemployed workers. Mouse over the state and you can see the percentage of unemployed workers. A list on the right ranks states from 1 to 50 for the percentage of unemployed (or other specified topic). New maps/topics are constantly being added, and you can make suggestions as to what types of maps you would like to see.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (46), elections (63), energy (168), environment (287), infographics (41), maps (246), politics (83), population (52), religions (49), resources (102), sports (80)

In the Classroom

When studying a specific topic in class (unemployment, AIDS, drunk driving, religion, energy resources, crops, etc.), share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Ask students why certain state or countries might differ from others. Are there issues that appear to be related, such as alcoholism and unemployment? Is it cause/effect or simply a coincidence? During election years, explore political leanings/polls and other statistics from this site. Have cooperative learning groups explore a specific topic (or state) and possible reasons for the data. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge groups to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Remember that you can always take screenshots of a map using PrtScrn key in Windows (then paste it where you want it) or using Command+Shift+4 on a Mac to save the image on your computer. Use the screenshots in explanations and presentations.
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FORA.tv - FORA.tv

Grades
9 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
  
FORA.tv's claim to fame is as the Web's largest collection of conference and event videos. These videos come from sources such as universities, think tanks, and other intelligent discourses....more
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FORA.tv's claim to fame is as the Web's largest collection of conference and event videos. These videos come from sources such as universities, think tanks, and other intelligent discourses. While one can sign up for this service, it is not required. Joining for free does have some perks such as the ability to rate or comment on videos. At the time of this review, there were over 10,000 FREE videos. An additional 500 videos were available for a FEE.

Videos can be shared through email, embedded, or linked with the URL by copying and pasting it to your own blog or website. Video content is categorized into business, environment, politics, science, technology, and culture. Each category has numerous sub-categories available. Please preview anything before you share it with your students. At the time of this review there was a subcategory "Sex" which may not be appropriate for most classrooms. But always preview! Teachers may want to share ONLY specific video links.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (55), cultures (86), elections (63), energy (168), environment (287), evolution (98), genetics (89), investing (8), news (170), politics (83), psychology (50), religions (49), sexuality (12), stock market (12), sustainability (14), video (186)

In the Classroom

Search to find videos relevant to the subjects that you are teaching. Videos are thought provoking and suggest different viewpoints. Once you select a video, show it as an inepth look into a topic you are already studying. Share the video and start a class discussion about the viewpoints of the video and the students' own viewpoints. From here, students could write a position paper from their own side or do further research for a class debate. Challenge your students to create their own video about topics being discussed/learned in class. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Alabama Kids' Pages - Alabama Secretary of State

Grades
3 to 8
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Explore and discover lots of information about the state of Alabama at this site for kids. Learn about state symbols (the state fruit is the blackberry), emblems, the state flag, ...more
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Explore and discover lots of information about the state of Alabama at this site for kids. Learn about state symbols (the state fruit is the blackberry), emblems, the state flag, and much more. Learn about the geography of Alabama, although there are no large natural lakes there are many large man-made reservoirs. Find interesting places to visit in the state such as the State Capitol and U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The Alabama government portion of the site has a wonderful graphic of how a bill becomes a law that can be used or modified for any state. The site also includes a few games such as a word find, guess the letters to find Alabama county names, and guess words related to elections.

tag(s): branches of government (39), elections (63), states (157)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students when working on state reports to use as a resource. For quicker projects, create electronic "posters" using tools such as Piclits (reviewed here) or Typogenerator (reviewed here). Locate interesting places mentioned on maps when practicing map skills. Share the graphic image of how a bill is made when learning about the bill-making process in your state or in the country.

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