Clicking through Netflix the other day, I stumbled upon a documentary that I had favorited a while ago. I had yet to watch it. Too many things on my plate. I figured it was time... time to see what is up with the documentary, Mitt. This Netflix original sought to show the wear and tear of campaigning on those who choose to run.
Whether you are a Romney fan or not, there is value in this film. (The Huffington Post totally slayed this film and Mitt Romney as a whiney flip-flopper that would have ruined the Presidency... a pretty bold statement.)
You see the consideration that goes into every campaign appearance, every debate, every dinner. You see the intense political positioning and internal discussion as to how to work every comment, every gaffe, every victory into more votes. And you see how it wears down those who would never want us to see that.
It is a great way to insert access to a candidate that spans two presidential elections. I am sure that the images and situations are chosen carefully by Mitt himself to preserve his image, but is still a great behind-the-scenes access.
You won't see this from the Obama camp, even though he is a master of media access. (Think of his guest apperances on Zach Galifianakis's Between Two Ferns.) After all, Obama has more image and office to preserve.
So I would recommend it as a viewing, either in part or in whole.
This week in Congress, legislation was passed to fund research to end childhood cancer. The money for this bill ($126 million) was taken from the public funding of nominating conventions. Seems like a no-brainer, for sure.
Yet, there are some out there who would argue that despite the fact that campaign finance outside of the public funding is way more effective, it is also rife with corruption...
Lawrence Lessig maybe one of those guys.
His TED Talk was re-broadcast on Saturday on NPR, and merits a good listen.
He has some pretty radical ideas about how to publicly fund campaigns that may do more good for all of us and our pet political projects... and make our democracy... well... more democratic.
Maybe you watch John Stossel on Fox Business Network. Perhaps you've come across Stossel in some of your school resources. Maybe, "Is America Number 1?" or "What's Good About America?"
John has a lot of resources that you can use in your classroom. A lot of it is free, like this 2014 Edition of Stossel in the Classroom, as well as a bunch of DVDs on Economics, streaming resources, (I like this one on the Federal Reserve) and Teacher's Guides that go along with the free DVDs.
There are a lot of easy to implement video clips that are fully supported. And a great outside resource page. Enjoy clicking!
I am going to splitting this post up between three different entities: a major publisher, two Illinois teachers who have gained mainstream media popularity, and a start-up cottage industry of AP review goodness.
Barron's AP U.S. Government and Politics flashcards
We start with some flash cards. Kids love flash cards. I am not as big a fan, because they tend to emphasize rote memorization, but we have to start somewhere, right?
I asked my PTSA to fund a mini-library of Barron's latest edition. There are 400 flash cards in the set, which are nicely organized by theme, and give great detailed answers to the concept on the front.
To help my organizationally challenged kids, there is a nice ring included to keep the cards in one place. Nice!
Conneen & Larsen's review sessions on Politico AND C-Span
C-Span has a yearly nation-wide jam session for all AP students, which is always accessible on C-Span's amazing streaming video library. (I so love C-Span.)
The below clip was on May 11, 2013... and C-Span sets it up so your kids can use electronic communications to pose and answer questions, as well as critique video along side these two veteran teachers from Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL.
If that isn't enough, Politico occasionally runs blogs (called Politico Prep) written by these two for high school students who are trying to keep up with the test.
Advanced Placement Prep's Practice Test Bonanza!
This website, created by experienced AP teachers, offers students a chance to purchase access to practice AP tests in a wide variety of disciplines. Ranging between $1.89 to $3.79, students can take an online, multiple choice test that simulates the kinds of questions on the AP exams. At the end of the test, you get your results and projected AP exam score (on the multiple choice only, or course.) as well as an explanation to the correct answer for each question.
Schools and teachers can also purchase multiple licenses for entire classes to take the exam. For more information on licenses, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Triple H's AP Government channel
There are a lot of historical questions about Presidents, Congress, and the Courts on APGoPo exams. Who has time?
I do have my students do a Grade-a-President collaborative assignment, but it's not always enough to get a feel for the presidency.
I rely on Keith Hughes of EdYouTube fame to help me help kids fill in the blanks. He does a great job of the Presidents, hyperpluralism, political realignment... Whatever! The kids find him amusing, and a great way to review.
Finally, many teachers spend time at work reviewing content with their students. I have limited time to make that work, so my students and I used Google plus to make a virtual hangout study session using webcams, etc. Just a suggestion to make your life easier, and comfy-er.
Good luck, lubgubbers!
Photo via Flickr/Ted Eytan