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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Presidential Election Campaign

Presidential Election Campaign

Related Tags: Social Studies
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11 Replies 672 Views
The process to elect the President of the U.S. has already begun. With your students there are so many things you can have them study and examine. How do you approach the election cycle? What are some strategies and resources you use to engage your students with the Presidential campaign? Please share your ideas here. Thanks!

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Ron Peck's picture
Ron Peck
H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.
Blogger 2014

Sara, you could also have them compare presidential election campaigns from years past. Assign each student, pair or group a historical campaign to compare it to today or compare candidates from now and then. Of course you could also look at past debates, starting with the Lincoln/Douglas debates or the Nixon/Kennedy debates. So many possibilities. Having the students incorporate their own views and evaluate is powerful in and of itself.

Thanks for the comment and idea. See you on Twitter or the Ning.:-)

musicalbunny18's picture
musicalbunny18
High school social studies teacher, Wahiawa, Hawaii

I'm teaching Participation in Democracy, a required semester-long Civics class, so covering the election is a rather large part of our curriculum this year. In addition to the presidential election, we are also electing a new mayor, new representative, and new senator. Some of the things that I want to look at with my students are positions on certain fiscal and social issues (they'll be taught the terms fiscal/social conservative and fiscal/social liberal), political advertising (we'll look at ads and stump speeches and compare/contrast how each candidate presents his/her side), and somehow we'll analyze the debates (this might be extra credit for the students + a reflection since I'm not sure how to show them clips). Overall, this quarter we are working on understanding the foundations and characteristics of government and citizenship and next quarter beginning in October we'll focus mainly on the elections. Any other suggestions for lessons or activities are welcome. Thank you!

Nancy's picture
Nancy
9/10th grade US history teacher, CT

I too have the task to incorporate the election into a curriculum that does not have any room in it... One way I plan on doing this is through current events... My students have to do summaries weekly so this will be the subject they will have to keep track of... I am planning on having them do this in all three areas: local national and international... I especially want the students to use news sources from other countries to get a different perspective on what is going on here.

Nancy's picture
Nancy
9/10th grade US history teacher, CT

I too have the task to incorporate the election into a curriculum that does not have any room in it... One way I plan on doing this is through current events... My students have to do summaries weekly so this will be the subject they will have to keep track of... I am planning on having them do this in all three areas: local national and international... I especially want the students to use news sources from other countries to get a different perspective on what is going on here.

Denise Thompson's picture
Denise Thompson
AP Government & Research teacher Mountain Vista Governors' School, Virginia

Great Resource: C-SPAN: Campaign 2012 and C-SPAN Classroom for free resources.

Michael's picture
Michael
7th World & 8th Grade American History

Much of the above sounds great for a high school civics class.
Any suggestions for an 8th grade American history class? Keep in mind the enormity of the CA standards from Revolution through reconstruction. I'm always looking for new ways to pique their interest and get them thinking and talking about the subjects at hand. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks ahead of time.

Frances Newsom-Lang's picture

We've begun a six week K-5 Election 2012 project exclusively using iPads. Using the free Storykit app, I've designed projects across the grades.

Kindergarten Project: The students color a campaign poster template on both candidates (to be fair!), take a photo of their artwork, upload it into the Storykit app, add text and then record their voices, explaining their artwork as well as their understanding of the Election. Very cool!

Grades 1-3 are working on their "Vote For Me! Campaign Posters", where they use their own images, text and voice, to explain why they think they would make a great President. Love this!

Grade 4 is working on "How To Become A President", again using StoryKit and iPads. They create a story board with both image and text, and explain:
* How does one becomes a candidate?
* What is a caucus?
* What is a National Convention?
* General Election to Electoral College: What's the Difference?
* Inauguration!

Their Storykits are much longer and take more research. Rigor makes it more interesting!

Grade Five has the hardest project. Working in teams of four with two iPads, they research specific topics on the Election 2012, and then create their own projects using different tools, from podcasts and PPTs, to Storykits and graphic novels with Comic Life.

Everyone is thoroughly engrossed in their research and projects and looking forward to the Election.

Josh Pearce's picture

Hi everyone...I am new to blogging so please exuse me if I am out of context. I am curious if any other social studies teachers have a problem with getting students to turn in homework on a consistant basis. This is not a glaring problem for me but I still take a missing assignment personally. I recieve consitsantly 85% of the assignments given out, and the majority come in late. I guess I am just curious if this is a problem for anyone else. I give homework about once a week. I''ve shortened assignemts and even made a lot of them collaborative, but still the percentage stays at about 85%. Any suggestions as to ensure all students turn in their social studies homework?

Denise Thompson's picture
Denise Thompson
AP Government & Research teacher Mountain Vista Governors' School, Virginia

This is all opinion so take it for what it is worth.
Homework has to be carefully designed to fit your audience and your instructional goals. Audience: I teach in a Governor's school for gifted students so it is necessary to assign homework. The things I have to take into consideration are 1)the limited amount of class time; 100 minutes, 2 times per week and 2) the cumulative amount of homework they have because of very demanding schedules. Homework is strategically planned and assigned. Never busy work and never assigned at the last minute. I map their homework out from unit to unit so they can fit it into their very busy lives. You may assign homework on the one night those 15% are busy. All homework assignments for the next unit are given out or posted the day of the test on the previous unit.
For many years I taught in a school in which most of my students were Title I. I did not give homework. Most of my students worked or went home to environments that were not at all conducive to homework. I promised them that if they gave me 100% during the time we had together that they would not have homework. It only happened when they made the poor choice to let it happen. I encouraged them to do their work when they had me tho help them with it. We worked from bell to bell everyday. Not a minute wasted. Took lots of very careful planning.
My guess is that a lot of classes are some mix of the these two extremes. First figure out your audience. Who are the 15% and why aren't they turning in their homework. It is not enough to just ask them. You have to know your students. Is it always the same 15%? Second look at your assignments. Do the students see them as busy work? Do they really enhance instruction time in class? Is it yet another way to disadvantages kids who already have the most disadvantages? Are they effective ways to teach the discipline of time management and discipline?
Homework has to be as strategically planned as everything else.

Josh Pearce's picture

Thank you for the advice. I do teach at a title 1 school with a heavy population of students from migrant worker families. Homework is strategically planned (perhaps not to your level since the students are not given their upcoming homework assignments at the end of the last assessment, but I have planned out when the will be assigned. These assignments are given sparingly, approximately once a week and many of these homework assignments are started in class. I suppose some of the higher achieving students may view some of the homework as busy work, but they turn in their homework on a regular basis. More than anything I give it as additional practice of a concept for students to increase mastery and since many of my students are not horribly proficient in the English language, they may need the additional practice. I have taken into consideration that their homelife may not be conducive to doing homework and I do not give homework that requires parental assistance, since I have found through research that for many immigrant students this is a cause for great frustration. Rather I give work where students are to work in pairs. I can see the reasoning for not giving homework, as you stated you did at your Title 1 school, and for the same reasoning, I give it sparingly. You are correct though, if the students do not see the assignment as meaningful, the chances of getting the work turned in is reduced significantly. Thank you for your input, it was greatly appreciated.

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