Showing posts with label Elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elections. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vote Easy - Which Candidates Match Your Opinions

In another example of my PLN helping me improve my lessons, Diana Laufenberg shared a great resource with me via Twitter. Diana shared Vote Easy which I immediately knew that I could use in my Civics class. Vote Easy is an interactive map designed to help voters identify the Congressional candidate that most closely aligned with their views on a selection of twelve issues. Answer each question then specify how important that issue is to you. Based on those responses Vote Easy will indicate which candidate in your Congressional district is most closely aligned to your views.

Applications for Education
I used Vote Easy in my Civics class this afternoon as a tool to get my students thinking about the twelve issues (including Afghanistan, Health Care, and Education) presented to them. After my students answered all of the questions and found out which candidate was most closely aligned to their views, I had my students take it again to see what type of answers it would take to be aligned with the other candidates.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:The History of Credit Cards in the United States
9 Resources for Learning About US Presidents
How to Use C-Span's Video Library in Your Classroom

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

9 Resources for Learning About US Presidents

Here's a short list of resources for teaching and learning about US Presidents and the office itself.

Electing a President

The Living Room Candidate is an online exhibit of Presidential Campaign commercials from 1952 through 2004. The Living Room Candidate is part of a larger project called the Museum of the Moving Image. Visitors to The Living Room Candidate can view the commercials from each campaign from both parties. A written transcript is provided with each commercial. Provided along with each video is an overview of the political landscape of at the time of the campaigns. Visitors to the website can search for commercials by election year, type of commercial, or by campaign issue.

NARA, the US National Archive and Records Administration, has built a great website for students and teachers. The teacher page offers links to detailed lesson plans. The lesson plan titled the Tally of 1824 is one of the most thorough Electoral College lesson plans that I have seen anywhere. The Tally of 1824 lesson plan addresses not only the basic process of the Electoral College, it also includes the ideas of faithless electors and the possibility of losing the popular vote but winning the election.

Common Craft's Electing a US President in Plain English does a nice job of explaining how the Electoral College system works.

Inaugurating a New President

Videos of every inaugural address from Eisenhower through George W. Bush is available through Hulu.

Governing Dynamo has built a gallery containing the text of every US President's inaugural address(es). In addition to the text, the gallery includes a Wordle of every address and an image of the President who delivered that address. Finally, Governing Dynamo hosts a video overview of the Wordles in the gallery.

The Chronology of US Presidents

The video embedded below depicts the 44 US Presidents in 4 minutes. This video includes the dates of the time in office for each president.

This video is a bit dated as it ends with Clinton's term, but it's educational and entertaining.

The Lives of the Presidents

The Miller Center of Public Affairs hosts a very good reference resource about US Presidents. The Miller Center's reference, American President, provides personal and political biographical information about every US President. Each profile links to dozens of essays about various aspects of each President's life and work. Each profile also contains images of each President. Some profiles also include audio files and video of the President.

American Presidents Life Portraits is a C-Span series that originally aired a few years ago. The series profiled each of the US Presidents. The profiles were very well produced as each one struck a good balance between profiling the politics of each president and profiling the personal details of each president. (If you enjoyed HBO's Adams series, make sure you also watch C-Span's profile of Adams). Most of the original profiles can be watched online using Real Player. Each segment is also available for purchase.

C-Span also has a few great activities that students can explore on their own or with teacher guidance. Career Paths to the Presidency lets students examine the various routes that presidents took to the White House. Shaping the Nation and the Presidency highlights eight key events that shaped the United States. Each of the eight events contains a video clip explaining the event's significance. The American Presidents timeline quiz is a fifty question interactive quiz.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Running for Office - A Political Cartoon Exhibit

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.

Applications for Education
Running for Office provides teachers of US History with excellent cartoons that they can use in their classrooms. The cartoons can be used for a lesson on satire or used for a lesson on a particular campaign or person from the early 20th century. Students can also study the collection of cartoons to compare the campaign process of today with that of the early 20th century.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
More than 100 Editorial Cartoon Lesson Plans
Pictures and Cartoons from PRI's The World
Lessons About Presidential Campaign Commercials

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Two More Election Resources

Okay, so I was wrong in my last post when I said that it could be my last post about the 2008 Election. Well, I just found two more resources worth sharing with readers.

MSNBC has a quiz about the race for the White House. The 30 question quiz requires players to think back to the beginning of the primary season to recall the events that have transpired over the last ten months.

Also from MSNBC is the widget embedded below. The widget will track the election results and display the results on a map as they trickle in.

Applications for Education
The quiz and the map can both be useful in the classroom tomorrow. The quiz is a good way to start a conversation about the electoral process. The quiz is also a good vehicle for making students look back at the last year, kind of a modern history project. The map is a useful tool for discussing with students why some parts of the country or some states voted for one candidate or other.

My List of Election Lesson Resources

Personally, I feel worn out by all of the campaign commercials and campaign news coverage. Therefore, this could be the last post I make about the 2008 election season. It's been a long campaign throughout which I have posted various resources that I've found to be of use when teaching lessons about the election. The following is a list of the most popular resources that I posted over the last nine months.

Election Process Explained by Common Craft
Electoral College Teaching Resources
Free Stanford University Political Science Course
2008 US Presidential Election Maps
American Presidents Lesson Plans
Two for Next Tuesday
A Lesson Plan for After the Election

Throughout the last couple of months two great places for election lesson resources have been Larry Ferlazzo's blog and Jeffery Hill's blog. In fact, today Jeffery Hill posted another great video to help people understand the election process in the United States. The video is embedded below.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

National Student/ Parent Mock Election

The National Student/Parent Mock election is being held on October 30, 2008. You can register your school to participate on the School Perceptions website. Even if you're school doesn't participate in the national mock election, you should still explore the curriculum materials that found on the National Mock Election website. In the curriculum section of the National Mock Election website teachers will find pdf's of lesson plan resources as well as a short animated movie and quizzes for students.

Applications for Education
The National Student/ Parent Mock Election provides a number of ways to get involved. If you're a classroom teacher I encourage you to visit the "how to get involved" for educators page for ideas about carrying out the election in your school. One way to get parents involved and modeling good citizenship would be to have mock election ballots available when they drop their students off at school.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Why Super Tuesday is Important- NPR Report

It's Super Tuesday! Super Tuesday is arguably the most important day in the election process. National Public Radio ( has an interactive election map to accompany its podcast coverage of Super Tuesday. Click on the map to try it out. To listen to a podcast from NPR about Super Tuesday click here.

Application for Educators
The NPR interactive map is a good teaching tool and resource for students. The NPR interactive map has a state by state and in some cases county by county break down of the primaries and caucuses. The map includes a calendar of events for each state. The map also has a time line of events.