Italicized links open a new window to an external site
Use the Secrets of Good Lessons to weave what you'll find at the Internet sites below into classroom magic. If you want, click here to move directly to Election Resources. For classroomtools lesson ideas useful in Civics/Government classes, click this link.
This superb site will guide you to the online resources the U.S. federal government makes available for kids. They are grouped K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 and parents and teachers. You can also see a list of all U.S. government web sites for kids grouped by topic.
This site, a project of the First Amendment Center, provides resources for students and teachers wishing to understand, "teach and practice the civic principles and virtues vital to democracy, freedom and the common good."
Education World offers links for teachers seeking lesson ideas to meet the newly mandated requirement for September 17.
Tweeting the 1787 Constitutional Convention
For Constitution Day 2009, I decided to prepare daily summaries of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and post them on Twitter for any teachers and students wishing to follow along. I began the day the convention opened (May 25), and finished on the day the Constitution was signed and the convention adjourned (September 17). Those wanting to see the Twitter stream may do so at http://twitter.com/philly1787. I based my summaries on James Madison's convention notes, located online at Yale's Goldman Law Library (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp). Since reading a Twitter stream backwards is not always an easy thing to do, I've posted the complete set of tweets (from May 25 through September 17) here.
Constitution Day for Teens
A slide show illustrating the ways in which the Constitution affects all aspects of teen life.
The U.S. Federal Government
the Executive Branch
the Supreme Court
Oyez, the Supreme Court multimedia database
the Supreme Court's Greatest Hits - MP3 files of oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the U.S.
Stateline.org - State news and governmental links
Resources to use in studying U.S. elections
Public Agenda's guides to help you and your students explore major issues facing the country in this year's presidential election.
Lessons plans and resources from the New York Times.
The President of the US is elected not by the millions of voters who will cast ballots on November 4, but by a majority vote of the 538 members of the Electoral College who will be selected by those millions. You and your students can follow the status of the race for those votes via these web sites.
All major news organizations have created results tracking sites. CNN's seems to me to be the best. Others can be seen at
The Los Angeles Times
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Updated daily, as new state polls are released, this site is chock full of tools that chart the ups and downs of the race for the White House.
Follow the race for this year's magic 270 presidential electoral votes at David Leip's marvelous site. In addition to features that will enable you and your students to track this year's race, you can access the results of every presidential election since 1789.
The League of Women Voters of Salinas and Monterey County (California) has also posted an interactive map that your students can use to play out 2004 electoral scenarios. You can view all of their Mock Election resources at http://www.mockelection.org/.
This site says, "Every Political Leader on Every Issue". It appears to mean it. Here you can examine every 2004 Presidential Candidate on every issue. You can also compare the stances of contestants for various state and national offices within the 50 states. Lastly, you can pick an issue of interest, then see where candidates and office holders stand.
Voter Turnout issues
This project is the work of Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
This contest was sponsored by the Center for Voting and Democracy in 1999. Here you can read essays written by young people from across the nation as they attempt to answer the question, "Political participation by young people is plummeting. What changes in our electoral system would increase political participation by young people and why is that important to you and people like you?".
Help secure "democracy for the future by involving youth in the election process today."
- Polls have become an indispensable tool to those governing contemporary America. For access to some of the better ones, and an understanding of how to read them, have a look at these sites.
- The Gallup Poll is the oldest continuing polling organization in the U.S. It has been conducting election polls since 1936. Click here to see how accurate it has been.
The Gallup Organization also polls the public to find out what people feel is the "most important problem" facing the nation at any given moment. Click here to see the current results.
- The Pew Center is a newer organization. One of its more interesting on-going polls is its list of the most closely followed news stories. Click here to see the list from 1986-2006.
- Public Agenda clearly presents factual information on major issues of national concern. Especially important are their 20 questions to ask about polls.
- The October 2000 issue of Vital Statistics takes a clear look at "the facts and methods behind the mystery of polling." Don't miss it.
- PollingReport.com allows you to quickly compare the results from major polls on similar questions.
- National news organizations often maintain their own polling operations. Click below to see what's offered by some good ones.
- NPR (in conjunction with the Kennedy School at Harvard and the Kaiser Family Foundation)
- The Washington Post
The Washington Post's Campaign AdWatch 2004
The Washington Post's Campaign Ad Index 2000
The Living Room Candidate
The American Museum of the Moving Image presents a magnificent collection of television ads from the Presidential Campaigns of 1952-2004. They are available in various streaming video formats, so you should be able to view them without difficulty. This is a treasure trove.
For suggestions on how to use these and other examples of propaganda in your classroom, see the Propaganda in the Classroom section of this site.
The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. On their web site they say of themselves, 'We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.' They also have a site designed specifically for teachers and students - FactCheckEd.org. This latter site offers:
- Frank Baker's Politics and Media site
Frank Baker introduces this section of his Media Literacy Clearinghouse with the following statement:
This webpage is devoted primarily to the 30-second campaign "spot;" so common in American elections. The site is designed to provide teachers with the tools they need to introduce political campaign advertising to their students. Another goal is to assist teachers who want to help their students become aware of the unique techniques of persuasion used in these ads.
When you're looking for unbiased and useful information on politicians (voting records, campaign finances, biographies, evaluations by special interest groups, etc.), turn to Project Vote Smart. When you want ideas for using this information in your classroom, turn to their Vote Smart classroom.
If you are looking for a single site from which to keep up with California's ever-changing politics, you couldn't ask for more than Rough and Tumble. Each day, Jack Kavanagh scans state and national newspapers and puts up links to articles that chart the Golden State's political pulse.
For balanced information on the candidates and measures appearing on your next primary or general election ballot, check out the Smart Voter site. Put up by the League of Women Voters of California, it currently contains information for many counties in some states, but more will be added as time goes by. To see what is available for your ballot, type in your street address and zip code (both held in confidence). In addition to informative links, you'll see the address of your polling place.
- Sites from Election 2004
Here you'll find lesson plans, puzzles, polls, news, history and more.
- Sites from Election 2000
Here you'll find lesson plans, puzzles, polls, news, history and more.
- Campaign 2000
This site provides a solid and unbiased look at this year's politics in the U.S., focusing especially well on the presidential campaign.
Public Agenda's guides to help you "clarify your views and weigh your values concerning some of America's most challenging problems."
Election links especially for students
MSNBC's Pencil News Election Coverage
Time for Kids Election Connection
If you are interested in first amendment issues, you'll want to take a daily look at the Freedom Forum.
Each year on April 13 (Thomas Jefferson's birthday), the Jefferson Center celebrates "the birth and ideals of its namesake by calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech 'cannot be limited without being lost.'" Its archives go back to 1992.
Jerry Goldman and Northwestern University have placed online the first group of "Watergate" tapes to be released by the National Archives. If you have the Real Player browser plug-in installed for your Web browser, you can listen in. These online recordings are part of the History and Politics Out Loud project. According to the site, "HPOL is a searchable multimedia database documenting and delivering authoritative audio relevant to American history and politics." It is definitely worth a look.
Hot News, Hot Research
Approximately once a week, the Poynter Institute (a school for journalists) posts a hot news topic. For each, you'll find a list of links to online resources related to that topic. Point your high school and college students to this site when they need information for current events assignments and projects. Its archives go back to February 1995.
Essentially a political weekly, this online magazine presented an across the board mix of perspectives. No longer published, its content was purchased by Speakout.com, and is archived on their web site.
Is is possible that anybody would actually have enacted laws like these, much less that they are still on the books?
The Social Studies School Service sells first rate teaching and learning materials for use in social studies and humanities classrooms. Their online catalog is much more than a list of what they carry. It is full of sample activities and links to relevant online resources. Enjoy!
- Main Events
return to the top of this page
return to the Organized by Discipline page
return to the Resources Galore! page
copyright © 2000-2012
classroomtools.com. All Rights Reserved.
original web posting: Saturday, February 12, 2000
last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012