Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Sites To Learn About U.S. Presidential Elections

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Since I’m teaching a Government class this semester for Intermediate English Language Learners, I thought it would be helpful to identify accessible websites that might help students learn about the U.S. Presidential elections and the candidates. And, so, another “The Best…” list is born!

Here are the best ones I’ve found and used:

There’s no question in my mind that the National Mock Election Game is the best site for English Language Learners. It has a fair amount of audio support for text. Intermediate ELL’s should be able to play it.

There are a number of short online “quizzes” that users can complete to identify which candidate or political party is the best fit for them. The ones related to the candidates also includes ones that have dropped-out, but I still think the exercise is an educational one. The most accessible ones are the Political Party Predictor from Channel One and USA Today’s Candidate Match Game.

Here are a couple of sites that help you determine what kind of President you would be: PBS’ President For A Day and Are You Presidential Material? from Channel One.

All About Electing A President Of The United States is a very simple guide to the presidential election process. Ben’s Guide To The Election Of The President provides the same type of information, as does a summary from Enchanted Learning. Channel One’s Election Playbook provides a more detailed explanation accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.

Time For Kids has a freely available Brainpop movie about Presidential elections.

English Page has some interactive vocabulary lessons related to presidential elections that would be helpful to English Language Learners.

After students develop some background knowledge about how the Presidential elections work, it might be useful to spend a little time on the electoral college. 270 To Win has a lot of information displayed graphically about previous Presidential elections and what polls are saying now about the upcoming election. In addition, The Washington Post has an Electoral College Prediction Map where users can predict what the 2008 results will look like and save their predictions for posting on a blog or online journal.

Lastly, I should at least mention an excellent online game developed by Cable In The Classroom called eElections. However, it’s probably only accessible to very advanced English Language Learners.

(Editor’s Note: I’m adding the Biography Channel’s Election Videos to this list. They provide good, and accessible, background materials on the candidates.)

(I’m also adding Scholastic News Online: Election 2008)

Here are some more late additions:

CNN has a nice comic-book-like interactive called Eight Steps To The White House. It’s an overview of the election process.

Ask A President is also from CNN. Four virtual presidents answer basic questions about the Presidental election process and how the U.S. Constitution works.

The New York Times has good interactive slideshows on the lives of Barack Obama and John McCain.

I’m also adding Glass Booth to this list.

Time Magazine has a slideshow on Joe Biden that should be accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.

Readers know that “Brainpop” has made many of my “The Best…” lists and is one of only two sites I recommend that is not free-of-charge. However, they’ve just made a collection of their movies available related to Election 08. They are free and don’t require any registration.

Time Magazine has an accessible slideshow on Sarah Palin.

Yahoo’s Political Dashboard is a very well-designed and accessible electoral map for this year’s U.S. Presidential elections. It has a number of neat features worth checking-out.

Inside The Issues is an excellent and very accessible resource from Time For Kids that describes various issue positions held by the two presidential candidates.

USA Today has a great online activity called The Candidate Match Game. It’s a very visual and accessible way for users to indicate their position on a variety of issues and then be “matched” with the U.S. Presidential candidate who most reflects their positions.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has teamed up with MySpace to create a great site called My Debates. It’s an exceptional interactive and educational tool to help users identify positions held on different issues by the candidates and assist people to identify which candidate is closer to their own beliefs. It’s a wonderful place to learn about the U.S. Presidential election,

Too bad it’s on MySpace. Even though you don’t have to be a MySpace member to use it (there’s a place to click so you can use it as a “guest”), it’s connect to the MySpace domain. That pretty much eliminates most public schools in the United States from accessing it, since content filters won’t allow it through.

Compare The Candidates comes from The Boston Channel and is an accessible interactive comparing the two main U.S. Presidential candidates.  On that same page you can find additional features about the election.

Where They Stand… is an online interactive from The Sacramento Bee which compares and contrasts the various positions of Barack Obama and John McCain.  The language is short and simple. The display is helpful, too, since it’s done in the form of a Venn Diagram and demonstrates where they share common ground, too.

A Common Craft video on Electing A U.S. President In Plain English. It goes fairly fast, and might be difficult for ELL’s, but it’s short, has good graphics, and there’s always the pause button.

An Electoral College Primer is a bit dry, but makes a good attempt at explaining this crazy system of ours.

The Washington Post has a great Interactive Timeline on The Lives and Careers of Obama and McCain.

Reading A-Z has some excellent leveled readings related to the Presidential election available for free. They’re very accessible to English Language Learners, and can either be read online or printed-out.

Time Magazine has a slideshow on The Voting Machines of America.

Cast Your Vote is an interactive where you can simulate casting a vote in a voting machine.

How Design Can Save Democracy is an interactive graphic from the New York Times that shows a sample Presidential ballot and how it can be designed to be more user-friendly.

The Harford Courant has an interactive graphic demonstrating the voting system in that state.

The Sacramento Bee has a series of twelve excellent photos of election day from across the country.

See How They Run is a very accessible and informative interactive from ABC News. Based on their recent polls, it shows what percentages of likely voters from various groups (race, religion, etc.) would vote for which candidate.

Here’s another excellent slideshow from Time Magazine about what’s happening in the United States on election day.

Here’s yet another slideshow from Time Magazine — this time about Barack Obama’s Victory Celebration In Chicago.

Here are some additional resources documenting election night that I’m adding to The Best Sites To Learn About U.S. Presidential Elections:

* An audio slideshow from the Cable News Network on President-Elect Obama’s speech after he won the election. It’s entitled “This Is Our Moment.”

* How Obama Won, a New York Times slideshow documenting important aspects of the Presidential campaign.

* Election Day Voting is a slideshow from The Washington Post.

* In Pictures: America Votes, is a slideshow from the BBC.

* The Las Vegas Sun has an “Obama Speaks As President Elect” slideshow.

* Election Day Images from CBS is particularly interesting because of the photos it shows from around the world.

* Here are nineteen more images from The Sacramento Bee showing reaction to Obama’s victory from throughout the world.

The World Celebrates Obama’s Win is another Time Magazine slideshow, and this one highlights reactions from around the world.

The New York Times just put a video and, most importantly for English Language Learners, an “in-sync” transcript of Barack Obama’s Election Night speech.

I’m making two addition to The Best Sites To Learn About U.S. Presidential Elections, and I suspect these will be the last ones I make to it.

One is the Newseum’s display of zillions of front pages from different newspapers the day after Barack Obama’s election.

The other is slideshow sampling of a few of those front pages from Politico (thanks to The English Blog for this resource).

The excellent Famous People Lessons site has a new Barack Obama Lesson Plan.  You can listen to the information about President-Elect Obama first, and then students can click on “Online Exercise.” It also has a number of activities you can print-out.

“Obama’s Nation Of Hope” is the title of a new slideshow from TIME Magazine.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has  some good slideshows about President-Elect Obama during the campaign.

Please feel free to suggest additional sites.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great resources! I have been looking around for good sites relating to the upcoming elections and these are great! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for giving your time and energy for working hard to select those sights for the upcoming presidential election. It will be essential tools specially form the youth to know all about the system of election and at the same time most important for them to
    vote in this crucial election. Thanks again.
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  4. Wow! My first ESL student would like to discuss the US elections and I was browsing the web and came across your website. A Godsend I should say! Such a wealth of information and now, I feel relieved to learn of so many websites to draw information from or to recommend to the student.

    I thank you so much.

    Del

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