TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 31, 2021

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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60-Second Civics - Center for Civic Education

Grades
5 to 12
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Listen to daily 60-second podcasts to learn about the United States government. Themes explored include constitutional issues related to today's headlines, presidential powers, and...more
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Listen to daily 60-second podcasts to learn about the United States government. Themes explored include constitutional issues related to today's headlines, presidential powers, and more--most episodes pertain to current events topics. In addition to the podcast, there is a daily quiz to check your knowledge of civics-related issues. Scroll down the page to find archives of recent topics, or use the keyword search to find podcasts related to any subject.

tag(s): branches of government (57), constitution (85), democracy (17), elections (75), electoral college (18), house of representatives (8), politics (100), senate (10), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this podcast to use as a quick class-starter to review and discuss civics topics. If you don't have time to listen daily, consider setting aside 15-20 minutes a week to listen to podcasts from the week and to discuss the daily questions. Engage students in any topic by creating a Google Jamboard, reviewed here, that contains any of the daily questions. Ask students to share their thoughts and response using the sticky note tool. Extend learning by asking students to choose a topic of interest to research. Ask them to share their findings using one of the multimedia tools found at Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here. Options found at Adobe Spark include creating videos, graphics, webpages, and more.

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Civics in Real Life - Florida Joint Center for Citizenship

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6 to 12
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Expand civic literacy with weekly updates and resources from the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship. Each week the center adds civics concepts related to the current news. View topics...more
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Expand civic literacy with weekly updates and resources from the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship. Each week the center adds civics concepts related to the current news. View topics by date and title, then click to download. The downloads are one page PDF documents containing a short overview of the relevant topic along with a "To Think and To Do" activity.

tag(s): constitution (85), courts (19), elections (75), electoral college (18), holidays (122), politics (100), presidents (115), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

Because this site offers weekly downloads, it is a great addition to use in any social studies classroom for civics lessons or providing ongoing civics discussions throughout the school year. Engage students by creating groups to explore concepts even further throughout the year. For example, divide your class into four or five groups, then have each group rotate throughout the month to take the information from a weekly update and conduct further research. Use Padlet, reviewed here, to curate and share each of the activities for students to revisit and review the content. Take advantage of tools such as Google Slides, reviewed here, to focus student groups on learning activities. Create a slide template that includes students' areas to answer questions, reflect upon finding, and share resources used. Extend learning using podcasts as a final project for students to discuss and share their researched topic. Buzzsprout, reviewed here, is an excellent option for podcasting in the classroom because of the free features that include adding links and lists to podcasts and the ability to schedule podcasts release for your chosen date and time.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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A Starting Point - Chris Evans, Mark Kassen, and Joe Kiani

Grades
6 to 12
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A Starting Point is a bipartisan channel to create video communication channels that connect Americans with their elected officials. The website is divided into three main areas - Starting...more
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A Starting Point is a bipartisan channel to create video communication channels that connect Americans with their elected officials. The website is divided into three main areas - Starting Points, Daily Points, and Counterpoints. Starting Points provide two-minute answers to common questions asked of elected officials. Daily Points provide officials the opportunity to share their point of view through two-minute videos. Counterpoint offers the point of view from both sides of the aisle to the shared topics. This portion guides viewers through the opposing viewpoints that are then wrapped up with closing arguments.

tag(s): branches of government (57), civil rights (153), elections (75), foreign policy (11), immigration (55), politics (100)

In the Classroom

Share information from this site with students to demonstrate how to share different viewpoints on current events. This site also provides an opportunity to model how to use facts and information to present ideas and persuade others to consider opposing viewpoints. As students use these videos to compare and contrast viewpoints, use a curation tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to share information from both sides. Use the shelf feature in Padlet to create columns to add content based on each side's viewpoint or use the map feature to add content found from different locations.

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Close Up - Close Up Foundation

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6 to 12
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Close Up provides non-partisan civics resources for high schools and middle schools, including podcasts, videos, lesson plans aligned to Common Core Standards, Discussion Issues, and...more
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Close Up provides non-partisan civics resources for high schools and middle schools, including podcasts, videos, lesson plans aligned to Common Core Standards, Discussion Issues, and more. The content covers a broad range of topics, including campaigns and elections, coronavirus, and social issues. Use the filters found on the resource page to choose items by topic or type of resource. Some materials on the site are for purchase; use the checkbox to narrow resources to only free items.

tag(s): civil rights (153), congress (37), constitution (85), elections (75), environment (221)

In the Classroom

Use materials from Close Up to supplement your current civics lessons. Assign groups of students different articles or podcasts to analyze and share with peers. Enhance learning using edpuzzle, reviewed here, to add comments and questions to videos for student consideration. Use Wakelet, reviewed here, to curate resources including articles and podcasts to share with students. Upon completing your teaching unit, ask students to use Wakelet as a multimedia presentation tool to create and share their learning by including written work, images, and links to reference materials.

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Elections and Civics Lesson Plans - GrowingVoters. org

Grades
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 (75), electoral college (18), journalism (67), politics (100)

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 for Education, 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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My Case Maker - Bean Creative

Grades
6 to 8
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My Case Maker is a collection of 20 civics challenges for middle school students. Share individual challenges with students using the provided Challenge Code. Once students access the...more
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My Case Maker is a collection of 20 civics challenges for middle school students. Share individual challenges with students using the provided Challenge Code. Once students access the challenge, the site offers tools for adding annotations and creating case folders. Once complete, students use information as a reference for other assignments or share their work using the site's presentation mode feature. If desired, use your free My Case Maker account to modify text and associated primary sources within challenges before sharing with students.

tag(s): black history (80), civil rights (153), constitution (85), democracy (17), elections (75), freedom of speech (12), immigrants (27), immigration (55), inquiry (22), media literacy (89), politics (100), racism (68), Research (52), world war 2 (134)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free materials on this site to encourage debate and discussion within your current civics lessons and lessons on civil rights and racism. Each lesson includes primary sources to use when responding to prompts; ask students to find and share additional primary sources to include their response to each question. Instead of just creating a list of additional resources, enhance student learning and classroom technology use by sharing additional resources using Padlet, reviewed here. Padlet offers features for adding comments; ask students to use this feature to indicate important information found on the document. Enhance learning further by finding and sharing videos that support the topic being discussed. Use EdPuzzle, reviewed here, to add comments and question prompts for students. Upon completing student projects, have them share their thoughts through a podcast featuring students' challenge solutions. Be sure to include a group of students in each podcast featuring various points of view and their backup documentation. Try using Synth, reviewed here, to create student podcasts.

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Eagle Eye Citizen - Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

Grades
5 to 12
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Develop civic understanding and historical thinking skills through interactive challenges found on Eagle Eye Citizen. These activities, geared toward middle and high school students,...more
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Develop civic understanding and historical thinking skills through interactive challenges found on Eagle Eye Citizen. These activities, geared toward middle and high school students, teach about American History using primary sources from the Library of Congress. The Solve link provides challenge puzzles to learn about historical events, the big picture, and sorting information into categories. Use the Teach link to find ideas for lessons and units based on this site's components, assessment ideas, and quick activities for use at any time. This link also includes several rubrics for use with the Challenge activities.

tag(s): branches of government (57), civil rights (153), congress (37), elections (75), immigrants (27), inquiry (22), presidents (115), Research (52), womens suffrage (33)

In the Classroom

Share activities from this site to introduce civics and government lessons; be sure to point out links with additional resources included after problem-solving activities. Share a link to this site on your class website for students to use at home. Replace written notes and help students organize information using a mind mapping tool like Coggle, reviewed here. Use Coggle to create and share colorful diagrams with included text and images. As students continue through the unit, have them enhance their learning by including their diagram on a website sharing their knowledge of civics concepts or discussing the historical event studied. Webnode, reviewed here, is a free website creator offering premade templates and easy to use tools. Transform student learning at the next level and ask them to create a book for younger students to teach them about the event studied using Book Creator, reviewed here. For example, when learning about the three branches of government ask students to create a digital book explaining the functions of the three branches. Book Creator allows you to include videos, images, audio recordings, and more.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Decoding Elections: Process, Persuasion & Participation - NewseumEd

Grades
6 to 12
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Don't shy away from teaching about the elections because of all the nastiness and confusion. Instead get help from NewseumEd's latest Collection: Decoding Elections: Process, Persuasion...more
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Don't shy away from teaching about the elections because of all the nastiness and confusion. Instead get help from NewseumEd's latest Collection: Decoding Elections: Process, Persuasion & Participation. Study the historical conditions and circumstances of controversial political campaigns to gain an understanding of today's campaign tactics and messages. Go back as far as the 1880s to learn about mudslinging and nasty accusations in the election and where and when nasty ads got their start. This NewseumEd Collection approaches understanding by using primary sources and case studies (use the drop down menu for Education Collection). The case studies start at the very beginning of an election and go right through to the end. They all include lesson plans with an issue summary, debate question, tools for organizing evidence for the discussions, election essentials, primary sources, guiding questions, and an extension activity. Optional resources for some of the case studies include NewseumEd's Pinterest pages (links provided with those Case Studies). To get started there are a few helpful interactives to go with this Collection: the Political Personality Quiz, Candidate Match, and Predict the Election. Registration with NewseumEd is necessary to access all sources, but is entirely free.

tag(s): democracy (17), elections (75), presidents (115), primary sources (99)

In the Classroom

Whether the nation or your local government is going through an unpleasant, combative election campaign, or even during a yearly unit on the elections this collection from Newseum will help students understand our political system. Pique student interest by having them take the Political Personality Quiz. In small groups have students discuss whether or not they agree with the results. Next, you may want to use the Candidate Match to refine their political profile further, and then discuss how they feel about the candidate they matched up with and why they feel that way. While using any or all of the case studies with your students, don't forget to download the Activity, Handout, and Worksheet. All of the case studies have discussion topics.

All students need to have a voice during discussions, whether discussing as a class or in small groups, allow everyone to share their opinions and concerns using a backchannel tool for the class such as GoSoapBox, reviewed here, or with older students, in small groups, using a tool like Slack, reviewed here. Extension activities encompass making charts, lists, (use tools like 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here, or Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here), researching a candidate creating a slogan and explaining why the slogan fits that candidate, and creating a campaign event. For the latter two extension suggestions use a tool such as Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here.

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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 it may not be viewable.

tag(s): elections (75), electoral college (18)

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 (75), presidents (115)

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.

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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 (75), politics (100)

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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I Side With - Taylor Peck and Nick Boutelier

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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 (75), politics (100), 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 the Interactive 2 or 3 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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Youth Leadership Initiative - Center for Politics - University of Virginia

Grades
3 to 12
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site...more
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site offers technology-based civic education resources that foster long-term civic engagement. There are parts of this site that are available to non-members, while other features are "member only." Membership requires name of school, email, and address. Teachers and curriculum leaders can sign up for a free account, and approval takes 2 - 3 days. Once approved, you will have access to several multimedia rich content areas.

tag(s): congress (37), elections (75), senate (10)

In the Classroom

Use the site with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in cooperative groups and take part in the mock congress. They will develop critical thinking and collaboration skills as they research, draft, and pass original legislation. Use the downloadable campaign simulation software (free), and have your students role play and run a senatorial campaign. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
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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 (75)

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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