TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 11, 2020

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Elections and Civics Lesson Plans - GrowingVoters. org

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K to 12
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Find lesson plans and activities for voting and campaigning for all grade levels at GrowingVoters.org. Begin your selection by choosing from the different grade levels bands beginning...more
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Find lesson plans and activities for voting and campaigning for all grade levels at GrowingVoters.org. Begin your selection by choosing from the different grade levels bands beginning with elementary school on up through college-level assignments and exercises. The activities include a variety of learning experiences, such as creating E-trading cards and producing candidate commercials. Click on any lesson to view the PDF file that includes the lesson objectives, procedures, and rubrics for evaluation. Many activities also include the incorporation of technology by suggesting resources.

tag(s): elections (73), electoral college (15), journalism (70), politics (106)

In the Classroom

Be sure to see the many free lessons and activities shared on this site for use as a complete civics and election unit or as a supplement to your current curriculum. For polling activities, consider the use of online polling tools such as Dotstorming, reviewed here, or Poll Everywhere, reviewed here, as quick polling options. Select activities from the site to use with other learning tools such as videos, online articles, and documents to create a blended learning activity using ActivelyLearn, reviewed here. Have students create campaign posters and flyers using PhotoCollage, reviewed here, or Canva Edu, reviewed here, using the templates provided or created from scratch. Engage students in the electoral experience by providing options for them to promote a personal platform or a fictionalized candidate using Adobe Spark in K-12, reviewed here. Adobe Spark allows inclusion of student-created videos and artwork along with student persuasive writing examples.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Reading Treks: Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 4
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TeachersFirst Reading Treks create a virtual field trip of resources about a piece of literature or text using the My Maps feature of Google Maps. This Reading Trek provides inspiration...more
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TeachersFirst Reading Treks create a virtual field trip of resources about a piece of literature or text using the My Maps feature of Google Maps. This Reading Trek provides inspiration and suggestions for using the trade book, Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles. Use our robust Instructional Guide with students in grades K-4. Content correlates to Common Core Standards, ISTE Student Standards, National Core Arts Standards for Visual Arts, and National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. Find the entire selection of Reading Treks here.

tag(s): elections (73), virtual field trips (78), womens suffrage (30)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many suggested classroom uses for this resource found on the Instructional Guide (PDF). Consider using the book as a starting point to locate primary sources to teach about voting in the United States along with life during the early 1900s. Using the map and locales, trace and then calculate distances for some of Alice Burke and Neil Richardson's travels across the country. Use Google My Maps, reviewed here to create and share custom maps.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Where Do You Fit? Political Party Quiz - PBS

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8 to 12
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Where do you fit? Take this 11 question quiz to find how your views fit on the political spectrum. When finished, use options to view your beliefs against others of ...more
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Where do you fit? Take this 11 question quiz to find how your views fit on the political spectrum. When finished, use options to view your beliefs against others of similar age, gender, and religion.

tag(s): elections (73), polls and surveys (45), quiz (73)

In the Classroom

Share the Political Party Quiz with students to complete on their own as part of any election unit. Have them compare their responses to the platform of leading candidates. Ask students to write an editorial discussing an issue that is important to them, or have students write a letter to one of the candidates discussing an issue of importance.

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Does Your Vote Count? The Electoral College Explained - Christina Greer

Grades
4 to 12
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Many students (and adults) don't fully understand the role of the Electoral College in presidential elections. Does Your Vote Count? is a YouTube video providing a clear explanation...more
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Many students (and adults) don't fully understand the role of the Electoral College in presidential elections. Does Your Vote Count? is a YouTube video providing a clear explanation of the Electoral College and how it works as part of the election process. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): elections (73), 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. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare the democratic process in the United States to that of another country. Have students create maps using Zeemaps, reviewed here, to identify the number of electoral votes available in each state. Zeemaps allows students to create audio recordings AND choose various locations on a map, and additional information such as how the electoral votes were cast in previous elections. You could use EdPuzzle, reviewed here, to share the video with students. Use EdPuzzle to add comments, questions, and point out highlights within the videos. YouTube videos are viewable in EdPuzzle, even if your school blocks YouTube!Use EdPuzzle to add comments, questions, and point out highlights within the videos.

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iCivics, Win the White House - iCivics

Grades
4 to 12
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Make the presidential election process personal. Run for U.S. president by playing this free interactive online game which is best played on a computer using most current browsers....more
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Make the presidential election process personal. Run for U.S. president by playing this free interactive online game which is best played on a computer using most current browsers. In this lively, colorful simulation, students will experience being part of a campaign, including creating a candidate avatar, selecting either Democratic or Republican issues, participating in debates and developing a media campaign. Choose your level to start: elementary, middle, or high school and complete the easy-to-follow tasks which do involve some reading, especially the debates section. The "Campaign Manager" will lead you through the process ending with your final probability of winning. Loading the game may take a few moments. Sound begins immediately, but may be toggled off. Online assistance is available by clicking the Help button in the top right corner at each step of the game. Also, the Back button in the top left corner allows easy do-overs of sections. Students may play without registering, but will access more content, compete with others and earn badges after logging in. You can have separate accounts for students and teachers, but must have email addresses. An automatic username is generated when registering. The easy to use Extension Pack for Teachers provides more activities and assessments. Registered teachers can message students and create classes to give students a virtual class code to join without needing an email. If students register, they can check their My iCivics accounts to see points and message members of their groups which can be controlled by the teacher.

tag(s): elections (73), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Start out using this site with your projector or interactive whiteboard with the whole class. Walk through the beginning of the game and demonstrate the built-in help which is useful for students who might need additional guidance. Have individuals play or create small group teams of campaign staff to guide the candidates. Students or groups may play multiple times. After registering, the site will save games and students can send messages. Use the Achievements badges and points for student assessments. Have students research the debate topics and compare the different aspects of the game to real-life examples in the news. An easy to use Extension Pack for Teachers provides more activities and assessments.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (73), politics (106)

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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The Election Collection - 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. View a short video to explore the constitution and how ...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. View a short video to explore the constitution and how the government gets its power from its citizens. Launch the Electoral Decoder to explore 58 past presidential elections. Another feature is Let's Talk About KQED Youth Media Challenge, where middle and high school students to share their ideas on issues that matter to them. Be sure to scroll down the page to explore other election categories like Voting Rights, The Party System, a Current Issues and Debate toolkit, and more.

tag(s): debate (45), elections (73), electoral college (15), presidents (130), speech (86)

In the Classroom

Include The Election Collection 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 Dotstorming, 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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (73), politics (106), 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 an infographic with the information they learn. Use Easelly, reviewed here, for creating the infographic. 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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AllSides - John Gable

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

tag(s): elections (73), media literacy (87), politics (106)

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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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 (61), congress (44), elections (73), media literacy (87), politics (106)

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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PolitiFact: Sorting out the truth in politics - St. Petersburg Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate ...more
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate statements made by politicians, using their "Truth-o-Meter." Although the interface is light-hearted (using a scale that runs from True, Barely True, False, and "Pants on Fire"), the facts are well researched and presented.

tag(s): advertising (35), elections (73), politics (106)

In the Classroom

This site is a great resource for students researching politicians and their viewpoints. If you're sponsoring a class debate, keep the site handy for each side to check the assertions of their opponents. When students have questions about the content of political advertising, for example, refer them here to find out more. As an assignment, consider having the class pick a political ad, and using the information on this site, write about how the creator of the ad selected the facts that would best portray the viewpoint of the candidate. They could share their critique on a class wiki or on a classroom bulletin board. Have groups create a "mythbuster" political poster on ThingLink, reviewed here.

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Project Vote Smart - Project Vote Smart

Grades
9 to 12
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Students often are confused about how to choose a candidate to support in an upcoming election. Perhaps they haven't read enough about the candidates and are overly influenced by campaign...more
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Students often are confused about how to choose a candidate to support in an upcoming election. Perhaps they haven't read enough about the candidates and are overly influenced by campaign advertising, or they are just repeating what they have heard at home. This site can help them hone in on a candidate whose views are similar to their own. Enter your zip code, and you have data on each candidate running in your area across 12 different issues. Choose either an issue to explore, or complete a questionnaire to see which candidate's views match your own.

tag(s): elections (73)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the basis of a homework or group assignment: students can write about the candidate they would support in an upcoming election referencing the information found on the site about each candidate's views on specific issues. Take it further and have them create a print ad for their candidate or an online "poster" using Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here. Alternatively, the site could be used on an interactive whiteboard as a springboard for a class-wide discussion. Be aware that the site uses a "grassroots" theme, and has a barely audible--and at times annoying--sound track of chirping birds. Turn down the sound if it bothers you.
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Election Resources: An Editors' Choice page - Teachersfirst

Grades
K to 12
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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 ...more
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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, try entering your topic and elections as search terms in the TeachersFirst keyword search (under Search menu), setting the grade level you seek, as well.

tag(s): elections (73)

In the Classroom

Use this handy "spcial topics" collection to find just the right student activity or reference information when you are studying elections. You can also share it on your teacher web page as an "approved" list of election resources for home and school study.

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Election 2020 - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Track the entire election process with your elementary and middle school students. This site developed by Scholastic is loaded with activities for kids and tools for teachers. Due to...more
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Track the entire election process with your elementary and middle school students. This site developed by Scholastic is loaded with activities for kids and tools for teachers. Due to the Covid19 pandemic Kid Reporters were unable to hold candidate interviews. However, what is featured is well worth your students' time. These features include a timeline for 2020, explanations of the election process in kid-friendly terms, lesson plans on various election topics (Political Parties, Campaigning, Electoral College, Candidates and Issues, and others), printable pages, election interactives, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (73)

In the Classroom

Share the interactives and video clips on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use the ready to go lesson plans (which include standards) to keep your students informed of election news. With older students, create a class wiki to discuss presidential views and issues. A good wiki tool to use is PBWorks, reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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