Every four years the political structure of the United States renews itself when millions of Americans head for the polls to elect a President. What a perfect teachable moment! Get your students excited about national politics and the political leaders of this great nation by taking advantage of election resources available on the Web.
The American Presidency
Drawing information from articles published in five Grolier encyclopedias, several Scholastic magazines, presidential speeches, multimedia audio and video clips, and a wealth of photos, this Web site yields an abundance of data on past presidents and presidential elections. It also covers the 2004 election. Youâ€™ll find Presidential profiles, facts about the Presidential office and electoral process, data on previous elections, an online multiple choice quiz, and links to important Web sites with fact-packed information about Americaâ€™s Presidents, First Ladies, and White House.
From Americaâ€™s newspaper of record, the New York Times, comes coverage of the Presidential campaign. The site focuses on special election issues in the news. It provides a campaign calendar identifying who was where and when, plus campaign finance information, an archive of New York Times election polls, information about the candidates, and Primary results. Youâ€™ll need to register at the site before you can access its materials, but registration is free and well worth the time to fill out the online form.
Presidential Election Cartoons, 1860-1912
Since between 80-90% of all information absorbed by our brains is visual, what better way to explore past presidential elections than to review political cartoons of Harperâ€™s Weekly, Leslieâ€™s Illustrated Weekly, Vanity Fair, Puck, and the Library of Congressâ€™ own Collection of American Prints 1766-1876? This collection of cartoon humor not only provides insight into the important issues of each Presidential election, it also offers a historical glimpse of national culture, class relations, and newsworthy event during the years of each Presidency.
This is the site to raise youth interest in the political process. Developed by Scholastic in partnership with MSNBC.com and NBC News, it sends out kid reporters to pound the election beat. Teachers will find a wealth of Election 2004 resources for use with students, including articles on How to Run for President (September 2003-December 2003), Reporters Cover the Primaries (January 2004-June 2004), and Live from the Conventions (June 2004-September 2004). Grade level lesson plans (with free worksheets, graphic organizers, and diagrams) may be downloaded to supplement or reinforce classroom curriculum on the American political process.
PBS American Experience-The Presidents
Explore the lives and careers of Americaâ€™s 43 Presidents by investigating the wealth of PBS research materials at this site. You can find out more about a particular President, his term, political party, first lady and vice president. Just select a name from the Presidents drop down list. The site also provides information about a president's domestic and foreign policies, the era in which he lived and the politics that shaped his presidency. Other links at the site take you to pages describing PBS American Experience TV programs about particular presidents (including Ike, JFK, Carter, Truman, Nixon, and FDR). Each one of these, in turn, provides a wealth of informative resources.
National First Ladies Library
First Ladies seldom take center spotlight during their husbandâ€™s term of office, but at this Library of Congress Web site you can learn more about the women who officiated as First Lady. Youâ€™ll find birth and death dates, terms of office, biographical information, and suggestions for further reading. You can also visit the First Ladies Gallery for another view of the women whose involvement in national politics gave new meaning to the term "housework."
Bush Cheney â€™04
This is the official Web site of the Bush-Cheney campaign where visitors can go to learn more about President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and their wives. View the latest headlines related to the campaign. Explore campaign issues and topics related to the economy, health care, education, homeland security, national security and the environment. View photos, join the re-election team, and, if you're so inclined, make a financial contribution. There are videos to watch, blogs where you can pen your opinions, and free screen savers, desktop backgrounds, and Web site banners to download.
John Kerry President
At the Web headquarters for the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass), you'll find information about the candidate, his wife Theresa, the issues they both support. View video clips taken along the campaign trail, take advantage of opportunities to get involved in the campaign, air your views in the Blog area, and download a variety of resources ranging from music and wallpaper to video clips, Web banners and a John Kerry Organizer Toolkit.
Boasting â€œKid Style News for Kid Style Peopleâ€ this informative youth-oriented news site posts weekly stories, educational activities, Web projects, online quizzes, crossword puzzles, and current events submissions from schools around the country. This being an election year, it also hosts an â€œInfo Centralâ€ Web page on the events of Election 2000. Kids can go back in time to learn more about how U.S. elections work, what a political party is, how the parties choose their candidates. Thereâ€™s also a link to a U.S. Presidents page with snippets of information about past presidents and vice presidents. One of my favorite pages at the site is the one that answers the question: Does the person with the most votes win?
Yahooligans: Election 2004
From the folks who bring you Yahooligans, the popular youth-oriented Web portal and search engine, comes news of Election 2004. Learn kid-size facts about the candidates running for office, find out some interesting facts about U.S. Political Parties, U.S. Politics, and the U.S. Government, and read election news from a variety of sources, including PBS and Scholastic News Online. You can also check out links to related Web sites, including the high-quality Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids, a U.S, Government Printing Office resource overflowing with kid-oriented teaching materials (identified by grade level) explaining how government works.
On the Issues: Every Political Leader on Every Issue
For quick access to information about important election issues, what they are, and how the 2004 presidential candidates view them, check out the resources available at this non-partisan Web site. On the Issues also looks at topics in the news and the position(s) taken by various candidates past and present. Designed to serve as a "comprehensive guide to presidential candidates' views on the issues," researchers from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Columbia University and other institutions compile information from several daily newspapers, speeches, press clippings, political debates and Internet sites. Data on the issues of Election 2000 may also be accessed for comparison purposes.
Politics 2004 Election (Washington Post)
The title of this Web site says it all! Register at the site (it's free) then visit the special section devoted to the 2004 election for up-to-date coverage of campaign stories in the news. The site also reports on current events in Congress and the White House. It features Candidate Profiles, links to NPR (National Public Radio) campaign coverage, and a Charting the Campaign Web page, which presents a series of charts and graphs summarizing "who's up [and] who's down" in the polls.
Email: Carol S. Holzberg, PhD