Sunday, July 22, 2012

Election Day Teacher Resources

The 2012 Presidential Elections are right around the corner. It seems like not long ago millions of Americans watched Barack Obama's historic inauguration. I watched that moment with my 5th grade class, and to this day, those kids remember witnessing history.

Of course, each Presidential Election is a major historical moment, and this upcoming one will be no exception. I came across a great online learning game a few days ago while doing one of my resource searching sessions, and it got me thinking about how I'm going to teach the election in my class this fall. 

In 2008, my school participated in the National Mock Election. I have contacted them to see when they will begin the 2012 Mock Election, their website currently isn't showing anything. I will certainly update my blog when I hear back from them or they start accepting school coordinator names again. Let me know if you've heard something I haven't!

I heard back from the people at the National Mock Election. I received this email on July 24th:

We are delighted to announce that the 2012 National Student/Parent Mock Election will be run in partnership with the Pearson Foundation.  There are some very exciting plans for moving the Mock Election into the interactive digital world of the 21st century.  We will be updating our website and trying to keep you posted as all this develops.  Please go forward with your own plans and keep us informed if you can.  We will get back to you very soon with more detailed information.  We are waiting for word from the New Mexico Secretary of State re:  continuing as the New Mexico state coordinator.

We are grateful, indeed, for your help in keeping the nation’s largest civic education project and the world’s largest national mock election alive.

We look forward with great pleasure to working with you in 2012 and to having the assistance of the foundation created by the world’s largest educational publisher.

Our website will be reorganized for 2012 next week. Hope you can start with the curriculum already up.  More soon on the exciting ways we will be expanding for 2012.

The Road to the Capitol is a flash based game that is on the National Mock Election website. It's fun, informative, and completely learning based. It can skew a little to the difficult side for your average 5th grade, but there's no reason they can't rise to the challenge. The site also includes a short 3 page teacher/parent guide in pdf format with some suggestions for mixing up the game play or enriching it.

iCivics offers a downloadable pdf activity that is a mock election classroom activity. I'm considering using this in the weeks leading up to the election, or incorporating parts of it into my schools student council elections that usually take place around the beginning of September (we'll already be in our third week of school by then). 

I came across a page of downloadable resources at Teacher Planet that all relate to the election, or could provide assistance to a school mock election.

Finally, over at Pearson Publishing, there is a great listing of classroom ready resources that students can utilize right from their site. I will be using a few of these to guide us in research and learning about the candidates. 

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