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Tip of the Week: More Election Resources Than You’ll Ever Need But Will Probably Look at Anyway

For a former poly sci major, a presidential election year is like one long Super Bowl party. Polls. Data. Ads. Commentary. Analysis. Policy discussions. Lots and lots of analysis. Throw in the Senate and House races – not to mention the state and local stuff going on here in Kansas – and it doesn’t get any better.

And the cool thing is that there are tons of online resources available to help me, you, and your students understand and participate in the process.

Your first step should be to browse through the article titled Have Politics Become So Ugly That Educators Are Afraid To Teach Civics? It might be easier to pretend the election is already over and try to ignore all the ugliness that can happen when we see so much polarization in the process. But we can not ignore our task as social studies educators – preparing students to be thoughtful, engaged, and informed citizens. Read more

EDSITEment continues to impress: New election resources & interactives

EDSITEment has always been one of my go-to lesson plan, teaching resources, website referral tools. A partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Trust for the Humanities, EDSITEment offers a treasure trove for teachers searching for high-quality material in the subject areas of literature and language arts, foreign languages, art and culture, and history and social studies.

Everything at EDSITEment is reviewed for content, design, and educational impact in the classroom and covers a wide range of humanities subjects, from American history to literature, world history and culture, language, art, and archaeology, and have been judged by humanities specialists to be of high intellectual quality.

If you’re looking for ways to integrate content with language arts and the humanities, EDSITEment should one of the first places you stop at. Lesson plans are searchable by grade level and specific content, are aligned to specific historical thinking skills, and focus on using evidence to build historical thinking skills. You can also find a variety of interactive student resources sortable by grade and content.

There’s a weekly blog written by EDSITEment guru Joe Phelan with helpful tips and teaching suggestions. You can sign up to get their monthly newsletter with updates and special announcements.

And it just got better. Read more

7 ways to survive the election season while making your kids smarter

I’m not necessarily fond of politicians but I do love the political process. I love elections and all of the conversations that come with them. The commentary. The analysis. It’s like March Madness bracketology and the NFL playoffs all rolled into one. For a political science nerd like me, a brokered Republican convention? Yes, please.

But even for me, some of what’s taking place during this year’s election season is a bit much. Seriously? Hand size?

So a couple of tips to help you and your students survive the next eight months: Read more

Battleground 538 and 5 other apps to increase election fever

I love election season.

I hate politicians that say stupid things and do stupid stuff. But I love elections.

Because when you think about, the democratic election process is such an incredibly unique event. Try and ignore for a minute the billion dollars worth of Koch Brothers PAC money and the racist comments and the focus on soundbites and lack of policy discussions that might actually improve lives. And focus instead on the amazing process that ends with a peaceful transfer of power in one of the most powerful countries in the world.

It’s a system that’s worked fairly well for over 200 years.

And we need to continue sharing that idea with our students. The problem? The process is more complicated than it looks. Take, for example, an article describing why Donald Trump really doesn’t have a chance of winning the Republican nomination. Like most things, the political process (especially the primary system) is much more complicated and nuanced than pundits and politicians seem to suggest.

How can we help kids start to understand the process? Use more tech. Specifically, start using mobile apps that simulate the process in ways that make sense. Today you get a few of my new favorites. Read more

2014 Mid-Term election resources

Many of you have asked for specific resources that focus on the upcoming mid-term elections. Hopefully this quick list of tools will help:

Democratic Party
Republican Party

Politifact
“Sorting out the truth in politics”
Access. Analyze. Act
Discover the power of social media while promoting your students’ civic engagement
CNN Election Center
FactCheck

Monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players
FactCheckED
FactCheck’s educator’s page
OpenSecrets
Who’s buying your politician?
FiveThirtyEight
Originally designed for the 2008 election, this site does a great job breaking down election data
Electoral Vote
T
racks political polls for U.S. federal elections
Yahoo Political Dashboard
Same thing, just from Yahoo
HuffPost Election Center
HuffPost Pollster
Great charts and graphs
Talking Points Memo Poll Tracker
All Sides Election Center
Sweet site that provides news / commentary from left, center, right perspectives
RealClearPolitics

VoteSmart / VoteEasy
How to vote and who you should vote for

C-Span’s Election Classroom
Center for Action Civics
Student News Daily

Only true election and poly sci fanboys will enjoy this post

Fanboy

Syllabification: (fan·boy)
Pronunciation: /ˈfanˌboi/

noun
An extreme fan or follower of a particular medium or concept, whether it be sports, television, film directors, video games, etc.

Yes. That’s me. I follow politics. I’m an extreme fan of elections and love talking strategy, candidates, and poll numbers – and just about anything else that connects somehow with the process. I’m an election fanboy.

So I’m probably one of a very small group of election geeks who cares much about yesterday’s presidential election.

Read more