Showing posts with label 2012 Election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 Election. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ad-O-Matic - Create Your Own Campaign Ad

The National Constitution Center currently offers a neat little tool called Adomatic for creating personal campaign ads. To create your campaign commercial enter your name, upload or take a picture of yourself, select a political party, select three campaign issues important to you, then let the tool render a video for you.

The Adomatic party options are Republican, Democrat, and Great New Party. When you create your video if you choose Republican or Democrat your video will be generally representative of the party's platform. The Great New Party renders a spoof video. I've embedded my sample video below (I uploaded a picture of my dog's face instead of my own).


Applications for Education
After your students create their videos ask them to think about what aspects of the two parties are represented in the commercials.

H/T to Tina Coffey

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lessons and Posters About the Electoral College

I'm a registered member of C-SPAN Classroom and I think that anyone who teaches U.S. Civics and Government can benefit from being a member too. Membership is free and sometimes you'll receive emails for free physical stuff like this offer for an Electoral College Map and Poster. If you don't want the poster you should at least check out the lesson ideas that are featured on the offer page.

Applications for Education
C-SPAN Classroom features three lesson ideas along with the free poster (small PDF versions of the poster are also available for download). The simplest lesson is one sheet of questions about the Electoral College that students can answer by using the poster.

Electoral College Pros/Cons and Alternatives is a lesson that requires students to read positions, watch video clips, and then form an opinion before engaging in classroom debate.

The Electoral College and the Constitution is a series of activities that asks students to examine the origins and intent of the Electoral College before examining the Electoral College's role in modern elections.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Videos - From Campaign to President

In case you haven't heard, this year the United States is choosing a President. The process started a while ago and we still have almost eight more months of hollow promises to hear campaign activities to go before the election. I've been bookmarking videos related to the election process for a while, here they are. I hope this help you help your students understand the process of choosing a President of the United States.

Let's start with an explanation of how candidates raise campaign funds.


Now that we've raised money, let's spend it.


And why do we have to spend it so early? Because of the primary and caucus season. Here's an explanation of those.


Let's see who helps candidates in those early elections and caucuses.


It's pretty much a given that an incumbent first term President will receive his party's nomination. That's an advantage. There are some disadvantages to being the incumbent. Here's a look at the advantages and disadvantages of campaigning for re-election.


Now that we're down to just two viable candidates remaining, let's pick a victor through the Electoral College. Here's one explanation and here's another.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Road to the White House Game, Maps, and Scholastic News

Scholastic's Election 2012 is a nice set of resources through which elementary and middle school students can learn about various aspects of the 2012 Presidential Election. Election 2012 prominently features student-friendly articles about the Republican primaries and caucuses. Before you have your students read those articles you might want to have them take advantage of some of the other resources provided by Scholastic's Election 2012.

Scholastic's Election 2012 Q&A page offers short answers to common questions like, "what is a primary?" and "what is Super Tuesday?" After going over those questions and answers with your students they can test their recall of that information by playing the On the Road to the White House Game which is based on the Election 2012 Q&A.

Applications for Education
Scholastic's Election 2012 could be a good way for elementary school and middle school students to follow the process of choosing a new U.S. President. The section about the candidates themselves is a little thin, but that could be the jumping-off point for students to do some research about the candidates.

Here are some resources for teaching about the 2012 election that are appropriate for middle school and high school use:
How Candidates Raise and Spend Money
Election Lesson Plans from C-SPAN
Primary Elections and Gerrymandering Explained

H/T to Michelle Krill for the Scholastic Election 2012 link.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Videos - Primary Elections and Gerrymandering Explained

2012 US Presidential election campaigns are out in full force now. If you're trying to explain primaries and caucuses to your students, C.G.P. Grey has a new video explaining primaries. There is a little bit of editorializing in the video, but overall it is a good primer on the purposes and functions of caucuses and primaries.



Staying with the theme of political science, C.G.P. Grey also has a video explanation of Gerrymandering. The video uses animals instead of people and political parties to explain how Gerrymandering works. Again, there is a bit of editorializing in the video, but it still provides a good overview of the concept.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Running for Office - Lessons With Cartoons and Videos

My social studies background is shining through this morning as I am publishing the third post of the day about the Presidential election process. The next few posts will not be about social studies topics, I promise.

In going through my archives I just rediscovered a couple of nice resources for teaching about politics through the use political cartoons, videos, and primary resources.

Running for Office is an online exhibit of the political cartoons of Clifford Berryman. Berryman is probably best known for his cartoon featuring Theodore Roosevelt having compassion for a bear cub. That cartoon inspired the creation of the Teddy Bear. Berryman drew political cartoons for Washington newspapers for more than fifty years.

The National Archives has put together a fifty-two page online exhibit of Berryman's cartoons. The cartoons chronicle the process of choosing the President. The exhibit also includes cartoons about running for Congress. Running for Office does a good job of explaining the meaning and historical context of the cartoons. Almost all of the cartoons in the exhibit can be downloaded for free.



















The Living Room Candidate is a great resource for teaching lessons about the role of media and advertising in political campaigns. The Living Room Candidate has a good resource page for teachers which provides a series of eight sequential lesson plans. The Living Room Candidate could also be a good resource for anyone that teaches a media studies course as your students can easily watch the evolution of television advertising through the 20th Century. The Living Room Candidate has videos of almost every Presidential campaign commercial from 1952 through 2008. A video of one of Kennedy's campaign commercials from 1960 is embedded below.


Cartoons for the Classroom is a service of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Cartoons in the Classroom offers more than one hundred lesson plans based on editorial cartoons created by the members of the AAEC. Each lesson plan is available as free pdf download. As you might expect, most of the lessons deal with current political and economic topics, but you will also find some lessons that are not time sensitive.

In addition to lesson plans Cartoons for the Classroom provides links to other cartoon resources. One of those resources is the Opper Project. The Opper Project provides lesson plans for teaching history through editorial cartoons.

2012 Election Lesson Plans from C-SPAN Classroom

Earlier this morning I shared some videos about caucus and primary system used for determining the Presidential nominees from the Republican and Democratic parties. Through an email from C-SPAN Classroom I just found out about some lesson plans for teaching about caucuses, primaries, and the 2012 election season in general.

Primaries and Caucuses is a detailed lesson plan offered by C-SPAN Classroom. The lesson plan outlines a set of vocabulary terms, a case study, and links to video clips that illustrate and explain the ideas behind the caucus and primary systems.

Road to the White House is a lesson plan less focused on the minutia of the caucus and primary systems than it is on the overall presidential election process. Like the Primaries and Caucuses lesson plan, Road to the White House includes a vocabulary list and uses video clips.

Presidential Candidate Research is a lesson plan that provides students with a framework for evaluating the candidates. Although this lesson plan was developed for the 2012 Presidential election, it could certainly be altered for use during other election seasons.

CNN Student News is Back for 2012 - Caucuses and Primaries

CNN Student News is back for 2012 and this morning's episode is about the Iowa caucuses and North Korea. The bulk of the episode is about the caucuses, why they are important, and why the primaries later in the month are important too. The video is embedded below.


I did a quick search on YouTube for some other explanations of caucuses and came up with this video from CBS News.


Here is an explanation of the caucus process according to Sky News.


CNN also has this video explaining why Iowa and New Hampshire go first and matter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Free Electoral College Poster from C-SPAN

C-SPAN Classroom is a great place for social studies teachers to find all kinds of resources for lessons on U.S. History and U.S. Government. I've previously written about using C-SPAN Classroom's video library in your lessons.

One of the quirkier aspects of U.S. Government is the Electoral College. Currently, C-SPAN Classroom is giving away posters about the Electoral College. The Electoral College Map poster contains information about the number of electors in each state, important dates leading up to the 2012 Presidential Election, and historic election events. To get the poster you do have to have a mailing address in the U.S. and register to be a member of C-SPAN Classroom (registration is free).

Applications for Education
The Electoral College Map poster isn't going to magically make your students understand how the Electoral College works, but it might be a nice accessory to add to your history or civics classroom. If you are teaching lessons on the Electoral College, you should take a look at Common Craft's Electing a US President in Plain English.