TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 2, 2016

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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Election 2016: Our Teaching and Learning Homepage - The Learning Network/New York Times

Grades
5 to 12
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Select from the best and most "evergreen" resources for teaching about the 2016 election at this homepage for The Learning Network. Choose from a complete four-part election unit or...more
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Select from the best and most "evergreen" resources for teaching about the 2016 election at this homepage for The Learning Network. Choose from a complete four-part election unit or smaller lesson plans covering topics including comparing candidates and understanding primaries and caucuses. Other portions of the site include classroom discussion questions, articles, and free resources from around the web.

tag(s): elections (78), electoral college (17), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many free activities and resources found on this site well after election 2016. Modify any of the materials to teach about local and state elections or adapt questions to fit any current topic. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts discussing the biggest issues surrounding an election. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (78), polls and surveys (54), quiz (88)

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. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): elections (78), electoral college (17)

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 Animaps, reviewed here, to identify the number of electoral votes available in each state. Students can add text, images, and additional information such as how the electoral votes were cast in previous elections.

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Cat in the Hat Campaign Headquarters - Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.

Grades
K to 8
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Cat in the Hat runs for president, and he wants children to decide the most important issues to address! His running mates are Thing 1 and Thing 2. Learn about ...more
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Cat in the Hat runs for president, and he wants children to decide the most important issues to address! His running mates are Thing 1 and Thing 2. Learn about the campaign and the causes - ocean conservation, environment, hunger, education, or kindness - by clicking either Video or Causes from the menu on the left. There are also free Activities downloadable in PDF format. See where each cause stands in the voting towards the bottom of the page. The cause and organization with the most votes will receive $10,000.00 from Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Random House Children's Books. All votes must be in by midnight November 8, 2016. The winning cause and organization will be announced December 1, 2016. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (78), environment (318), oceans (150), presidents (132), service projects (27)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to get young students involved and thinking about the democratic process. Pique their interest by showing the video with your projector to the whole class. Break students into small groups and have them read and discuss the different causes. Have them take an initial vote within their group for the cause they would like to support. If there is not a consensus among the group, have each student, in turn, tell why they think the cause they like should be the most important and receive the vote. You could vote as a class or have students vote individually.

For older students, there is an opportunity to practice being persuasive; this is a perfect introduction to these causes, and students could research their favorite cause and learn facts about why it is indeed a cause or issue. Students could work on this in small groups supporting the same cause. They could then put together a multimedia presentation for their peers to try and convince them to vote for their cause. TeachersFirst has several Edge tools that would work well for this presentation: Ignite, reviewed here. With the web-based Ignite, students can collaborate on creating a multi-layered, unique multimedia project with text, images, and video. The iPad app allows them to add audio, too. Padlet, is an online bulletin board maker, reviewed here, or Thinglink, reviewed here, where students create an annotated, narrated image including text boxes and related links (even videos). If you would like your students to have a little pre-practice with using persuasion, you could have them complete the exercises on ThinkCerca, reviewed here, or Drafting Board, reviewed here.

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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 (78), presidents (132)

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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Electing a US President in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
5 to 12
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Electing a President in Plain English is a video describing, in simple terms, how the US electoral process works during a presidential election. The video focuses on the influence of...more
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Electing a President in Plain English is a video describing, in simple terms, how the US electoral process works during a presidential election. The video focuses on the influence of population on the overall voting process and provides a quick overview of the general vote and the electoral college. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): elections (78), electoral college (17)

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. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Piktochart, reviewed here.

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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 (78), politics (99)

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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Channel One News: One Vote - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company

Grades
3 to 12
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Channel One News: One Vote is sure to appeal to and educate young readers. They will meet candidates, and learn how the election process works through engaging videos, infographics,...more
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Channel One News: One Vote is sure to appeal to and educate young readers. They will meet candidates, and learn how the election process works through engaging videos, infographics, and interactive pages. Find a delegate tracker and a field guide to the candidates (both interactive), a Presidential Trail Calendar and Results, information about One Vote's mock election, and more. Scrolling towards the bottom of the landing page you will find 60-second wrap-ups for each week, two quizzes about the importance of voting and where you stand, and various articles.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (78), news (265)

In the Classroom

Make sure your students know what the U.S. primaries are about and why voting is so important. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce One Vote to students. Set up a link on class computers, or at a learning center for students to take the two quizzes. They can learn about why each ballot counts and find a match to the candidate they lean towards. This will help them see where they stand on issues like taxes, immigration, and climate change. Each week show the 60-second wrap up and hold a discussion. Consider using a tool like TodaysMeet, reviewed here, so the quiet and shy students have a chance to participate in the discussion, too. View the information about mock elections to see if you would like to set one up for your class or school. Put a link to this site on your class webpage for students to use at home.
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Newsela - Students Vote 2016 - Matthew Gross

Grades
4 to 12
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Create informed citizens and voters with Newsela's Student's Vote 2016. At their reading level, students learn about the candidates and vote in the "student primary." Newsela publishes...more
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Create informed citizens and voters with Newsela's Student's Vote 2016. At their reading level, students learn about the candidates and vote in the "student primary." Newsela publishes high-interest news articles, from the best news sources, at five reading levels. See the TeachersFirst review here.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (78), news (265), newspapers (97), reading comprehension (119)

In the Classroom

If you haven't already, sign up for Newsela and create your class. Add students by using a teacher (or parent) provided code rather than an email address. Go to the Election Text Sets and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading level versions. Be sure to set up a time for your students to vote on election day.

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PBS Election Central - PBS Learning Media

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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. Take virtual field trips to the floor of Congress and ...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. Take virtual field trips to the floor of Congress and Presidential Libraries to explore historical themes. Follow the election process with the interactive map to track candidates as they campaign across the country. Other content examines the election process and takes an inside look at the debates. Be sure to check out the Election Collection containing several activities such as Inside the Voting Booth and You're the Campaign Manager.

tag(s): debate (44), elections (78), electoral college (17), presidents (132), speech (94)

In the Classroom

Include Election Central 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 WeJIT, 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 (78), politics (99), polls and surveys (54)

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 Easel.ly, 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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Flackcheck - Annenberg Classroom

Grades
8 to 12
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Discover and learn how to recognize flaws in political arguments and advertisements with Flackcheck. Browse the Video Wire to find fact checks on viral emails, the latest videos, and...more
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Discover and learn how to recognize flaws in political arguments and advertisements with Flackcheck. Browse the Video Wire to find fact checks on viral emails, the latest videos, and recent speeches and debates. Choose the Patterns of Deception to take an in-depth look at the art of deception in many current political debates. Other portions of the site explore the Lincoln/McClellan election of 1864, election of 2012, Affordable Care Act, and more. Some of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): advertising (35), elections (78), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation with the information they learn. Take advantage of the free lesson plan to include with your election unit. This site is excellent for enrichment. Post a link to FlackCheck on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students use StepUp.io, reviewed here, to grab other examples of patterns of deception from online video sources such as YouTube or Dailymotion quickly and easily. Have students create a word cloud of commonly used deceptive words using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here, or WordItOut, reviewed here.
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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. The sections also offer 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 (78), electoral college (17)

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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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 (78), politics (99)

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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