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The Best Resources To Learn About The U.S. Census

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The United States government does a census once every ten years to determine how many people live where in the country, along with other demographic data about residents. It’s a great teaching/learning opportunity for English Language Learners for both language and civic development. Immigrants are often under-counted (and their neighborhoods subsequently penalized by receiving less government funds) because of their fear of legal consequences or because of language.

We just finished a lesson on the Census in our Intermediate English classes, which finished-up a unit we did on neighborhoods. I’ll be compiling a slideshow of posters students made encouraging people to participate in the county, and will be posting it here.

I thought it would be useful to list my previous posts related to our Census lessons — which includes links to materials we have used — as well as some great new resources that just became available.

Here is a short list of The Best Resources To Learn About The U.S. Census (and are accessible to ELL’s). This list will grow:

The Wall Street Journal today published an exceptional interactive on the Census, including the actual form that residents are asked to complete. We’re going to use it tomorrow in class.

The Sacramento Bee published a very accessible interview with U.S. Census Director Robert Groves yesterday.

A post by Lisa Dubernard about Census resources led to some great resources hosted by Scholastic:

How to Use Family Take-Home Pages are PDF’s available in 27 different languages. They’re great for students to take home as a follow-up activity to language-development lessons related to the Census. We’re going to have students write a letter in English on their reverse side telling their families why they think it’s important that they complete the form.

Census History Challenge is a nice interactive for students to learn more about it.

CBS News has a very good video titled Fast Draw: U.S. Census. In a little more than two minutes, it gives an engaging history of the census and its purpose.

The New York Times Learning Network has some good Census-related lesson plans, and links to a useful article titled Counting America.

Linda Marie Koza, and ESL teacher in San Francisco, has developed a great lesson and reproducible lesson for English Language Learners on the Census.

It’s Easy is a video from the Census showing how to complete the form.

The Questions on the Form is an interactive feature from the Census showing how to complete the form.

Portraits Of America is a pretty amazing collection of video stories (that are closed-captioned) from people who have benefited from the Census.

The U.S. Census has an interactive that lets you see how responsive your local community is in responding to the mail-in Census form. It’s updated daily.

USA Today has a video titled 2010 Census: Turning a pile of paper into the USA’s digital portrait.

“A Breakdown Of The 2010 Census” is a very accessible infographic about…the 2010 Census.

CNN has many Census-related videos. That link should take you to all of them. However, if it becomes broken at anytime, just type in “census” into their search box. That will bring you to all of them. One video in particular is The Homeless Get Counted, Too.

Here are links to my previous Census-related posts:

Persuasive Essays, Low-Income Communities & The Census Count

More On The U.S. Census & The Classroom

A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits

Here are a few posters on the Census our Intermediate English students created:

The United States Census has unveiled a very useful interactive sharing a bunch of demographic data from the past one hundred years. English Language Learners would probably require a little initial guidance in figuring it out, but it would be worth the effort.

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block is an amazing interactive from The New York Times that displays U.S. Census data from…everywhere. The New York Times Learning Network also has a simple lesson plan related to it.

Feedback is always welcome.

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You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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

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  1. Pingback: March 7, 2010 Links | Footnotes of a Retired "Teckie Teacher"

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