NO! You know you want to. The AP test is over... and, well, the soft lull of movies is so calling your name.
Okay, this is totally on the fly, but I thought I'd try to jump start you into having AMAZINGLY AWESOME discussions with your somnambulent students in their post AP haze. How do you, how do they stay interesting?
Here are some ideas... and if you have some you want to share LEAVE A COMMENT! IT TAKES A VILLAGE, GURUS!
Pardon my theatrics... I hate to be morose, but I can't teach this unit without thinking of that awesome song by The Clash. There are really so many great songs out there with which you can open this unit, and kids really gravitate to issues surrounding these rights, or what little they know of them.
I take my time (relatively) through this unit. Besides the fact that I get more way more interest and lively debate, which always freaks me out, I find that there are some kids out there who really excel in logical "lawerly" thinking. Maybe they have never applied it to less objective reasoning than math and science... and find that they like these hypothetical, no-one-is-100%-right kind of arguing for the sake of arguing (I call it word math.)
I have my kids work through basic precedent by completing the Gallery Walk in the previous post, which is fun, but gets mixed results because... well... not all the kids put forth equal amounts of effort. So, I need to come in and clean it up.
The biggest problem that the students seem to have is whether or not a case is incorporated or not.
I am about three class periods into my President unit, and thought it about time to sit down and give my recap on what good works we have been doin'.
In order to do this unit justice, I really want to think at the beginning and again at the end... what makes a great President?
"I do not believe," said Wilson, "that any man can lead who does not act . . . under the impulse of a profound sympathy with those whom he leads -- a sympathy which is insight -- an insight which is of the heart rather than of the intellect.
Yeah, I don't do it. My kids take civics for a year in 8th grade, and I feel like they can take this on for me. So, I leave it to them to do a collaborative out-of-class activity. (I wish I could call it a PBL, but it's a bit shy of those lofty accolades.) They have to create a song (the music can be unoriginal, but the lyrics must be original) that covers the legislative process. They can perform live or with a video, and I have gotten some really awesome examples in the past year. If you want me to do all the heavy lifting, you can purchase the guiding document and rubric on my TpT storefront...
That being said, there are a ton of great resources out there.
I ask my kids to watch this video and be responsible for the content (GREAT for flipped classrooms!)
I also particularly love this amazing infographic...
And if you are looking for an update to the I'm Just a Bill video, try this one on for size!
Aw, yeah. It's 'Murica time. Let's make some stars and stripes around he-yaah..
So. we've done the whole historical background thing. Which brings us to a walking tour of that beautifully short and (mostly, at least for now) unchanged document.
I am torn in opening with a short video. I love crash course, but depending on my mood and desire for crass-ness and a bit of adult (yet not profane) humor... this is a good place to start a summary. It's not on the level of the daily show, but I may not show it to eighth or ninth graders. Preview and know your students.
If my last post was a book, here is it's sequel. Seriously, I spend way too much time on this unit. But, it's totally worth it. Totally.
Overnight, the kids read an article from The Atlantic about fixing campaign finance. While they are waiting on class to start, the continue on with this article from theDaily Beast, forecasting the projected impact of PACs on election 2016. I really like the SuperPAC scorecard, compiled from information collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. This is what we center on, analyzing the big donors and the effectiveness of their donations. It is interesting to note two things: Dems tend to donate less to candidates, and more to issues (according to the readings)... AND PACs are finding it difficult to catch eyeballs as millennials and other generations are gravitating away from traditional television viewing. I assume they will follow the eyeballs, which leads to more personalized advertising, no?
I find that the next step is to explain what all the various vehicles in campaign finance are, and why we have so damn many. I hand out color copies of this graphic, taken from the Sunlight Foundation, to start our conversation.
This entry is going to be a book. Hold on to your hats, folks. I have a lot to say.
Citizens United is quite possibly the one issue that really makes my blood boil as a teacher about democracy (or republican democracy, to be precise), governance, and leadership.
So, I slow down here and... take. my. time. Period. To get the kids ready, I have them do a **BEAST** of a webquest (up for sale on my store soon, with answers.) Some of the things I like the best are the following:
Doesn't matter what side of the aisle you are on, you think the media has it all wrong. Possibly, all sides have it wrong. Possibly, we're forgetting that the media is owned by people who are trying to profit from their delivery of the news. Okay. I will get on with it. I am crunched for time here, so my previous solution was another webquest. I don't have the heart. My webquests are massive. (I am working on making this purchasable for those of you who are interested. Will be up shortly.) So, I made a Prezi.
Some things I didn't throw in here, but thought they might be good resources for you...
1.) Freepress.net has a Media Policy 101 website that covers bias. If I had more time, I would try to work it in.
2.) I also love this Media Spin Cycle infographic to cover this material.
3.) I heard this interview of liberal Joe Muto, formally a fact checker on Fox New's O'Reilly Factor. He has some great insight to discuss bias at Fox News only. Obviously, he is not commenting on liberal bias at MSNBC or CNN.
4.) I take my kids to the Newseum in D.C. for more detail on bias, ethics, and other assorted media issues. However, they have great classroom resources for you if you are not close by, including their digital classroom.
5.) Here is a great overview of how newspapers are formatted from the Washington Post's Newspaper in Education website.
Call this lesson the logistics of elections, because that is exactly what is going on here.
Really, the best way to discuss where and how elections are administered is to have the kids dig for data.
I give a brief run down on all things elections, including definitions of what the following concepts mean:
And then we are off to the computer lab. I have a SHORT and EASY webquest that is built using data from my county and state's election boards. If you are a Virginia citizen, this would be a great supplement. If you are not, I am sure you can see if this data can be gathered in your own county using the state and county election board websites. Either way, the lesson plan is up for sale on my TpT store for $1. Check it out! (This lesson plan will be up for sale shortly; it is under construction.)
Remember Elbridge Gerry? and the dreaded Gerrymander? This is the day we talk Gerrymanders, Gimpy Legs, Amoeba Conventions, and Bottle Openers. What am I talking about? These are all names given to recent Congressional districts that had been 'drawn' by state legislatures. For a great upload on this topic, I highly suggest you read this 2012 Atlantic Monthly article by Robert Draper.
I find redistricting fascinating. Apparently, I am not the only one. If you spend enough time looking into this, you start to wonder if this isn't where the real controversy lies. After all, it really does matter what district you live in, and the impact your vote may have.
But redistricting can be so, well, boring. Or challenging. I like to start my kids off with understanding what it is precisely. Specifically, who is involved, what they are doing, and what they have to consider when they are redistricting. They being, in most states, the party in power of the state legislatures. What better tool for kids then a game? Specifically, the ReDistricting Game? (Warning, this could go on for days. I have my kids play the first option, basic... at a minimum. They can play more, time permitting.)
GovGurus everywhere have cited this game as a great resource, because it is! You can get into partisan gerrymandering and incumbent protection once you have mastered those primary considerations that redistricting folks have to respect (from the 14th Amendment)... which, in a nutshell, are...
There is another great resource that gets into packing, tacking, and cracking... is the Brennan Center's A Citizen's Guide to Redistricting. It was published in 2008, but things haven't changed so much (with the exception of the overhaul of VRA section 4 & 5 after Shelby v Holder.) I have a webquest up for sale on my website that uses these resources; $1.50 for the webquest and answers! (This lesson plan will be up for sale shortly; it is under construction.)
I find these three resources as a great way to help kids get a handle on what is going on in the state legislatures, usually around the years ending in 1, but sometimes more frequently than that. It will also be touched on when we talk about campaign finance, specifically with the group Project REDMAP.
I want to start by thanking Mr. Snowden and Mr. Greenwald for their uncompromising dedication to giving the NSA violations air time and transparency. I wanted to share some of the most important things I have learned from this book bef...
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
by Bill Bishop
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
I lovgov. LOVE IT! I love teaching government, learning about it, debating, discussing, asking questions about government. And not the standard boiler plate questions, but the hard ones that are NOT in the books.