Friday, August 26, 2016

Teaching About the Election

Everywhere you go these days people are talking about the national election process and the candidates. Some educators have recently started thinking about how to teach about the election in their classes this fall.

I have put together a brief summary of resources and ideas for content and literacy that I believe could be useful at all grade levels. Here they are with links:

Teaching about the Election 2016
These are 2 good places to begin:

Dealing with Controversial Issues
Civil Discourse In The Classroom (booklet may be downloaded) and lesson plans for election 2016

More Lessons for teaching about the elections and civics sites:
Teaching Tolerance Election 2016 – ideas for all grade levels

From New York Times
From now until November, we’ll be offering regular election teaching resources, including lesson plans, Student Opinion questions, contests and an updated version of our four-part election unit. Find the most evergreen posts on our regularly updated Election 2016 Teaching and Learning Homepage.

PBS Election Central – An Educational Guide to the US Elections
All kinds of lessons aligned to the standards for all grade levels.

Center for Civic Education
Lessons for all grade levels particularly on voting and citizenship; also has a newsletter.

MA Center for Civic Education (the local contact for the national one above)
Lesson plans (all grades) and online resources – particularly helpful with teaching about some of the issues that have come up during the elections.

Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Lots of interesting resources and opportunities for student research.

Content Literacy Opportunities:
Focus on argument:
·         Students view video clips – either campaign speeches or ads
o   Analyze for content by researching validity of claims
o   Analyze for appeal – ethos, pathos. logos
o   Analyze for audience appeal (what audience?) (from the work of Kelly Gallagher)
·         Students write the speeches they would like to hear from the candidates.
·         Research issues – work in teams to develop debate arguments for each side.

Focus on Questions:
Engage your students in thinking about the value of voting and decision making. The Better Questions Better Decisions Voter Engagement Workshop offers a simple, easy to implement, nonpartisan lesson for middle school and high school educators who are teaching the importance of the elections and voting process. Learn more and download the workshop resources.

Write Letters

Letters to the Next President, recommended by International Literacy Association (ILA),
provides issues that young people care about – geared to high school students.

I hope these sites and ideas will be helpful as you plan for this very exciting election season!