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More Resources for Teaching about Elections

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Sep 11 2008

Democracy in America from Annenberg Media's Learner.org offers a unit on Political Parties: Mobilizing Agents . The unit includes an interactive and downloadable readings by Alexis de Tocqueville and others.

The Newspaper in Education Program of the New York Times offers Election 2008 Resources, including a curriculum guide, special features on Learning Network, and an Election Guide that profiles the candidates, summarizes their stands on issues, and provides a mapped overview with statistical breakdowns of which states are considered to be in play in the presidential election and how all the states voted in the past five elections.

Google for Educators has consolidated interactive tools for teaching about elections. Resources include a call to the National Student/Parent Mock Election on October 30—a program actively involving students in the political process. Voting maps and access to blogging and broadcasting publishing tools enable educators to integrate and guide classroom experience with the internet.

The National Writing Project consolidates 14 annotated links to election resources primarily directed toward teenagers. Their section on Resources for Teens About Issues in the News includes links to Pop + Politics, a nonprofit blog forum for young people and FactCheckEd.org, a site devoted to teaching how to evaluate evidence and draw conclusions. Both are from the Annenberg School for Communication.

PBS Teachers, a multimedia site of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) for teachers preK–12, developed Access, Analyze, Act: a Blueprint for 21st-century Civic Engagement. This Curriculum Guide and Web Resource discusses methodologies for utilizing social networking platforms (among a wealth of other internet tools) as a medium to engage students and to develop critical thinking skills. Lesson plans support concepts of social networking and critical thinking discussed among educators and students in video presentations; and interactive activities maintain ongoing, fluid analytical competencies. The emphasis on critical thinking ensures across-the-curriculum applicability.

The only duty the U.S. Constitution assigns the Vice President is to act as presiding officer of the Senate, but 13 Vice Presidents have gone on to become President, eight because of the death of a President. (Gerald Ford became President after Richard M. Nixon resigned, and the rest were elected to the office.) So, does the vice-presidential selection influence election outcomes? The History News Network reprints an interview with Stanley Kutler, constitutional and presidential scholar, on The Vice Presidency, Hype and Flourishes that provides an historical overview of vice-presidential roles.