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The Best Resources For Learning About The 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

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(Ideas for English Language Learners | Election 2012 is my post at The New York Times Learning Network. I think teachers of non-ELL’s might find it useful, too.)

It’s that time again in the United States.

Here’s a beginning list of The Best Resources For Learning About The 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, and I’m sure I’ll be adding tons to it as the election approaches:

Election 2012 comes from Scholastic.

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. (Unfortunately, it appears that they have taken it off-line. The site still has some useful materials, but I wouldn’t rate them that highly. I’ll contact them to see if they are going to put the game back on the site at some point).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 Best Places To Learn About President Barack Obama’s Life

See a biography of Mitt Romney at The Biography Channel. You can also see a list of his positions here.

Predict a winner: Battleground states is an interactive from the Los Angeles Times.

The Washington Post also has an interactive predictor.

Brainpop has a series of good movies, but you have to either subscribe or register for a trial period.

The Economist has several good “videographics” on the election.

Election 2012: Teaching Ideas and Resources is from The New York Times Learning Network.

10 Tools, Apps, Interactives And Other Projects Around 2012 U.S. Elections is a post at 10,000 Words, and it really is quite an impressive collection.

I Side With is a new cool interactive for learning about the Presidential campaign. Here’s how NPR describes it:

The site’s purpose is to show you which presidential candidate’s views most align with yours by running you through a short quiz that asks your stance on various policy issues, then determines which candidate most agrees with you.

It’s not a new idea — similar quizzes popped up the past few election cycles. But what sets this one apart is the social-media angle: The site allows you to share your results with your friends or to comment via Facebook, and it shows you the states where candidates best match up with the quiz takers.

States of play is an interactive from The Economist.

Candidate Match Game II is from USA Today.

Vote 2012 is a neat interactive map from the PBS News Hour.

Milestones: Paul Ryan is a New York Times interactive.

Race to the White House is an Associated Press interactive.

Timeline: Paul Ryan through the years is from CNN.

Here’s a CNN “Explainer” about political conventions:

Mitt Romney’s Life is an interactive from The Wall Street Journal.

Conventional Wisdom is a WSJ interactive about political conventions.

The New York Times has put together a word cloud indicating the most common words used in speeches at the Republican Convention (I assume they’ll continue to add to it as the Convention goes on). They now have one for the Democratic Convention, too.

The New York Times Learning Network has published an excellent series of lessons on the 2012 elections this week. Most are too challenging to many English Language Learners, but can be modified.

YouTube Politics has video about the elections from multiple networks.

VISUALIZATION: The Most Memorable GOP Convention Moments is a very interesting interactive. The Economist has a good explanation about it.

Where Do You Fit? Introducing The Pew/NewsHour Political Party Quiz is a very accessible interactive from the PBS News Hour.

Play The Election is the newest incarnation of the great Play The News gaming platform. Be sure to click on “Play Games.”

Great Free Web Sites for Teaching Election 2012 is from The New York Times Learning Network.

A comparison of key words spoken by the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates during their convention speeches comes from The Washington Post.

Race to the White House is an Associated Press interactive.

Vote Night lets you use a Google Map to predict the election results. It’s similar to several other sites I’ve previously described. However, Vote Night gives you an embed code for your creation so you can add it to your blog or website. Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the tip.

Here are some new additions that are specifically related to campaign ads:

Political Communication Lab from Stanford has what appears to be all the video campaign ads from this and many past elections.

The Museum of The Moving Image has a similar collection.

Getting to Know the Candidates: Analyzing Their Campaign Ads is a simple but decent lesson plan from Education World.

How To Watch A Political Ad is from Annie Murphy Paul.

The Attack Ad, Pompeii-Style is from The New York Times.

Here are “60 Years Of Presidential Attack Ads In One Video”:

The History Channel has a nice collection of related videos.

Watching Debates With Kids is a good piece from Middleweb, and includes a nice downloadable sheet that students could use while watching the presidential debates.

Adomatic is from the National Constitution Center and lets you create your own Presidential campaign ad. Thanks to Richard Byrne for the tip.

Salon has just published this video, along with an analysis of what it shows:

Patterns Of Deception is a page from the site Flack Check, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

This is how it describes their feature:

The Patterns of Deception page identifies recurrent deceptive techniques in the 2012 campaign season, provides illustrations of each and links to FlackCheck.org videos that debunk the deceptive content. These materials are designed to help viewers identify flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular.

Students are encouraged to ask people in the community about the election and post their video to YouTube by the site Engage2012. You can read more about it in an article by educator Esther Wojcicki.

Understanding and Hosting a Post-Presidential Debate is from the PBS News Hour. To tell the truth, I’m not really impressed with most of it. However, I really like this downloadable student hand-out.

Turning Points: Top Debate Moments is an interactive from The Wall Street Journal.

Game Changers is a very ambitious interactive/game from ABC News.

Pearson OLE has a good series called “Breaking Down The Issues.”

Here’s a video from The New York Times on Presidential Debate Moments:

Resources for Designing a Political Ad Campaign Project is from Edutopia.

Teaching With the Presidential Debates is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Presidential Debates Trivia is an interactive from The Associated Press.

Creators of negative campaign ads use neuroscience, skip the facts, go for your emotions is a very interesting newspaper article. Thanks to Frank Baker for the tip.

The New York Times has published a very nice series of “unforgettable” moments from past Presidential debates. You watch the short video clips and then vote for your “favorite.”

History Says, Debate Moments Matter is from NPR, and includes several video clips.

Lynn University has created
a number of debate-related curriculum materials. You can learn more about them at Valerie Strauss’ blog.

The Guardian has created Spin It! Create your own lines from the presidential debates. It shows most of the debate’s transcript, and you can drag and drop words into a box to create your own “soundbite.” Then, you’re given a unique url address to your creation which you can share.

Here are three New York Times resources on the presidential election:

What Romney and Obama’s Body Language Says to Voters

Quiz: Presidential Election History

Wall Street Takes a Beating in Campaign Ads

Here is a neat interactive I learned about from Go Kicker. It’s particularly timely for my Theory of Knowledge class, since we’re learning about Language right now and I just had students do research on their own names. They’re answering the question: “How might your name and the story behind it affect how you see yourself and how others see you?”


TV ads in the 2012 presidential campaign is an interactive from The Washington Post.

Presidential debate: which words did the candidates use? is an intriguing visualization from The Guardian.

Interactive video transcript of Denver debate is from Al Jazeera and lets you “clip” sections and send or post them.

Spin It! Create your own lines from Biden and Ryan’s vice-presidential debate is another cool interactive from The Guardian. It lets you mix-and-match words from the Vice-Presidential Debate and share what you come up with — perfect for English Language Learners.

CNN has a map with videos from around the world providing international perspectives on the U.S. Presidential election. I think it’s one of the most useful sites I’ve seen this year.

Students Create Video Ads for Historical Presidential Elections is from The New York Times Learning Network.

The Associated Press has an interactive showing the percentages of naturalized voters, and their countries of origin, for each state.

The PBS News Hour has a good lesson plan, along with an interactive, where students create their own Presidential ad. However, they require Facebook login to use the interactive. I don’t know what in the world they were thinking — with Facebook being blocked in most schools, how do they expect students to use it?

Here are two resources about the second Presidential Debate:

The Words They Used is a pretty interesting Word Cloud from the Wall Street Journal.

Here’s an interactive
from The Guardian that lets you copy and paste words of the transcript and create your own “quotation” that you can share online.

The Electoral Map: Building A Path To Victory is a New York Times interactive you can use to identify who you think is going to win which battleground state, and then get a link to your prediction.

The Art of Creating The Presidential Campaign Ad is by Frank Baker, and includes a useful student hand-out.

Build Your Own Election Map is an interactive from The Wall Street Journal. I’ve got several somewhat similar tools on this list, but this one appears to be the best of the bunch. It shows the electoral maps from the last two elections, important current data from each state, and new poll information. In addition, you can get a direct link to the map as you predict it to turn out.

Watching U.S. Race, Other Nations See Themselves is from The New York Times.

The US election and your country is from CNN.

Spin It! Create your own lines from the Obama-Romney foreign policy debate is from The Guardian.

BBC poll: Rest of world favours Obama is from The BBC.

Obama-Romney foreign policy debate: Mapping the mentions – interactive comes from The Guardian.

4 Powerful Messages That Stand Out in a Sea of Advertisements is from The New York Times.

Images, Themes and Props in Presidential Campaign Ads is from The NY Times.

The Associated Press has a new interactive.

Teaching the Election in the Final Week: Bellwethers, Unicorns and Attack Ads is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Interactive: Which US candidate suits you? is from Al Jazeera.

Campaign Explorer is a collaboration between Google and CNN.

I Want My Country to… is a New York Times interactive. Here’s how they describe it:

The New York Times and CBS News asked a sample of Americans about their opinions on issues that may affect their vote in the presidential election. Below are six questions from the poll.

Make your choices and see how you compare to those who agree and disagree with you, based on the national sample.

The Best Photos of the Entire Presidential Campaign is from The Atlantic.

The Guardian has published an excellent online “graphic novel” reviewing the 2012 Presidential election. For English Language Learners especially, I don’t think there’s anything better out there on the election.

Source: shareasimage.com

Here’s the transcript and video of President Obama’s victory speech (you may have to click through to see the video if you’re seeing this in an RSS Reader):

Barack Obama’s victory speech – full text




Here’s an infographic from The Associated Press of the election results.

Here are some interesting cartograms of the results.

Exit Polls: Casting Ballots in 2012 is a Wall Street Journal interactive.

How 3,195 Counties Add Up to an Obama Win is another Wall St. Jrnl interactive.

Here’s a collection of 2012 Election Graphics from The Washington Post.

Here are two very interesting interactive quizzes from the PBS News Hour:

What’s Your Election Report Card? Introducing The Pew/NewsHour Quiz

Where Do You Fit? Introducing The Pew/NewsHour Political Party Quiz

Additional suggestions are always welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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

14 Comments

  1. Pingback: Arizona, Words, Dropbox, a Tool, More: Afternoon Buzz, August 27, 2012 « ResearchBuzz

  2. Pingback: BOOKER MEDIA CENTER - ELECTION RESOURCES

  3. This is a great list – very helpful. Thanks!!!

    I have created a 5th grade PBL unit where my students are running for president. Here is the site: http://psolarz.weebly.com/the-2012-presidential-election1.html

    We have created a Virtual Debate regarding four issues of the campaign (based on their party affiliation) here is one of them: http://psolarz.weebly.com/education.html

    More can be seen by hovering over the “Present” tab, “The 2012 Presidential Election” tab, and then the “Virtual Debate” tab.

  4. Any idea why the National Mock Election Game doesn’t show (error 404)? Could it be blocked somehow (not likely when error 404, but anyway).

  5. Thank you for this list. What an amazing resource for anyone looking to teach the election to young students!

  6. Pingback: Scorpion Library » Educate the Vote (Sting 27)

  7. Pingback: 40 Interactive graphics about the US election | Visual Loop

  8. Thanks so much for including something from Kicker here! For what it’s worth, here’s everything we’ve got on the election: http://gokicker.com/issues/election-2012/ All of these posts are “story-explainer hybrids” – half article, half explainer – and every single one has ways the reader can take action – even students who can’t vote!

    Thanks, Larry!

    Best,
    Holly

  9. Pingback: 2012 election resources | Generation YES Blog

  10. Pingback: Teaching election 2012 and Sandy « Teaching using web 2.0

  11. Here are a few more links that might be interesting to incorporate into a lesson:

    Pictures of odd voting attire and traditions(although one may be considered a little school inappropriate) : http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2012/11/05/164346767/voting-in-your-swim-trunks-why-not

    Odd polling places pictures: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2012/11/02/164192169/wheres-the-oddest-place-to-vote-lets-take-a-poll

    Why the movie “Lincoln” was not released before Election day: popwatch.ew.com/2012/11/06/lincoln-election-politics/

    Celebrity election day tweets: popwatch.ew.com/2012/11/06/election-tweets-colbert-justin-bieber/

    And finally Election day comic!: popwatch.ew.com/2012/11/06/the-guardian-election-graphic-novel/

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