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Presidential Election Campaign

Ron Peck H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.

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!

Comments (13)

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History teacher and site PLC Lead in Escondido, CA

Great topic, Ron! Honestly, I

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Great topic, Ron!

Honestly, I haven't thought a lot about how to integrate the 2012 election into my APUSH curriculum, so I was initially puzzled and my reaction was "it's not in my curriculum, so I don't need to worry (whew)."

Of course, the students are going to be interested and will come to class with questions. As their teacher, I must be prepared to answer... and being ready is crucial, right? Here is a thought: US History courses emphasize the development of political parties and the evolution of democracy as a part of that development. When discussing the perennial issues of strong federal gov (more commonly referred to today as "big") v. state/local control, gov debt & spending, etc, explicitly pull those issues out and break them down to show the timelessness of the issues and how perspective influences views on those issues.

Then, assign students to watch a debate (or two) and read candidate speeches. They could write a reflection or create some sort of report in which they link the perennial issues to the candidates and discuss how each approached these issues. Students could evaluate their own stances and provide evidence to support their position on an issue.

I'm open for feedback on this, and look forward to seeing other teachers' ideas too!

H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.

Great Idea!

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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.:-)

High school social studies teacher, Wahiawa, Hawaii

Civics

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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!

H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.

Civics and the election

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Thanks for your comment. I suspect many of us in the US will be spending a lot of time discussing and investigating the election. Now's the time to let students explore all of the ins and outs of government.

One thing I like to do is give students a choice from different topics to investigate and report on. Topics include specific candidates, political parties, party platforms, campaign ads, effects of campaign fundraising on the ability of incumbents to do their job, media and media bias, local and state issues, plus whatever the students vote to add.

I also try to bring in a local candidate to speak to the students and answer questions. Each activity is followed up with an online blog post and discussion. Much of the learning, discussion and discovery can happen outside of class. a culminating event could be presentations or you could set up a party convention and have different parties and candidates represented by each small group of students.

Also, have them follow the political news from a news service outside the US.

Lots of possibilities.

If you want more ideas, join us on the sschat Ning or on twitter using the hastag #sschat

Good luck this school year.

Ron

7th World & 8th Grade American History

Presidential elections

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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.

7th grade US history teacher, CT

elections and the curriculum

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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.

7th grade US history teacher, CT

elections and the curriculum

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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.

AP Government & Research teacher Mountain Vista Governors' School, Virginia

Great Resource: C-SPAN:

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

We've begun a six week K-5

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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.

H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.

Thank you!

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Frances,
I love your ideas for elementary. We appreciate you sharing.

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