November 6, 2012 and The Presidential Election is rapidly approaching. The people of the United States choose a President every four years! Our students are learning about Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney and Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama in TV commercials and on the news, in the newspaper headlines, and from the Internet marquees...and hopefully in your classroom. What are you talking about with your students?
My students wanted to know if they can become a candidate for President?
We looked it up and learned the following:
My students are younger and know that the job of the President is very important. They wanted to know what he does. We did some research too and they learned that The President
Students memorized the oath the President will recite during the inauguration ceremony, January 20, 2013 when the 44th United States President will be sworn in.
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
I respond to their questions with, "that's a good question, let's see if we can find the answer"... and everyone brings back what they find out so we can formulate an answer from every student's research. My students are allowed to use books, the Internet, or family members to do their research but they have to tell everyone their source.
During events we often change our spelling/vocabulary list for the week to words that they students are seeing, hearing, and using. Here is our list (compiled by my students) for the Presidential Election. Students must learn to spell each word, write a definition for each word, and use each word in a sentence that shows they know what the word means.
Our list is:
Students (and voters) get their information about candidates from newspapers, television and the Internet. We are discussing in class how to evaluate ads and decide what is fact and what is opinion.
My students recognize that ads use many persuasive techniques to win voter support. Here are a few we have identified:
My students watch for political ads for homework, and they are asked to record examples of these persuasive voting techniques.
As they review an ad, they are also to write their answers to the following questions:
This is a very useful activity. Thank you for sharing.
My students are doing something similar with the Presidential Debates.
The first televised presidential debate was in 1960. Most research seems to agree that debates support people's opinions rather than change them. However, debates seem to be very useful for people who have not made a final voting decision before hearing the candidates speak. My students agree that the most responsible way to select a President is to look at what each candidate stands for and vote for the one closest to their beliefs.
They are following these four tips when watching the Presidential Debates:
The Presidential Debate schedule is
Wednesday October 3, 2012 (Done)
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 (Done)
Monday, October 22, 2012
My students are assigned to watch each debate and to take notes on the following topics:
They are to list Mitt Romney's Stand, Barack Obama's Stand then justify which candidate is a best fit for their own personal beliefs and why.
Maybe someone reading this discussion can help me answer my child's question. He asked, "Is the White House really white?" At first I replied, yes, but am I right?.
I did a little research and learned that the executive mansion was modeled after an Irish mansion, and it wasn't white, but it didn't say what color it was.
During the War of 1812, the mansion was burned by British soldiers. When the building was restored, it was painted white to hide the black marks left by the fire. The executive mansion has been known as the White House ever since.
So what color was the White House originally?
Here's a great link to all things "Whitehouse".......White House History | White House Facts &amp; Trivia
Thank you so much, this is a wonderful site. My son and I will spend many hours reading more about the White House which we hope to visit someday, and the families and pets who have lived there.
The site you give says that the White House is made of stone. I never thought about the material used to build the White House and why it might be white until my son asked his question. The White House was built using Aquia sandstone but the stone (brown to light grey in color) was whitewashed.
I think all children should learn about their President, the White House, and how our government works.
Great ideas! Here is an easy project that I have created with my students.
Together we came up with the following reasons why people don't vote:
My students are now tasked with developing a plan to get registered voters to the polls on election day. They are to work pairs to develop their message and present it using any one of the following media:
The goal is to motivate voters to get out and vote. They are to address at least one of the excuses above as they motivate the public.
I'm enjoying reading this discussion and I know that all classes who have taken an interest in the presedential election will want to hold a student vote November 6th, either by paper vote or using an online polling tool, and compare their results with the state and national vote. Potential for some great math questions!
For older students, rather than creating a ballot or poll with candidate names, you might create a lising of each presidential candidate's stand and have students vote based on their stand. Good assessment tool!
Does anyone on this discussion know more about the Party Symbols than this?
My students know that the donkey is the accepted symbol for the Democratic Party and the elephant is the accepted symbol for the Republican Party.
The Republicans believe the elephant is dignified, intelligent and strong.
The Democrats believe the donkey to be smart, humble, homely, courageous and loveable.
We found that Thomas Nast, a famous political cartoonist for Harper's Weekly, is given the credit for originally drawing these characters in his cartoons and then somehow they were adopted by the two political parties.
One of the Supporting Contributors for Thinkfinity is the Museum of the Moving Image. Take a look at the The Living Room Candidate, funded through a grant from the Verizon Foundation, that contains a comprehensive online collection of political television advertisements from every Presidential election since 1952. You could have your students select several TV ads from other Presidential election years and compare them to the current TV ads they are watching that promote Romney and/or Obama.
Please share other ideas you may have for using The Living Room Candidate.
Be sure to check out the document, "Election Day," within the Thinkfinity Community. It contains a variety of Thinkfinity resources that teachers can use with their students to help them understand the election process.
Okay - so I have a weird question of the day......In my class we're taking about the lead up to the revolutionary war. The tea party came up and a grandparent of a student brought me what she believes is a replica of tea shipped in the 1770s. It is a rectangular block of what looks like very tightly pressed tea with designs on the front and squares on the back (like a chocolate bar). The design is Chinese in nature with some Chinese characters. It makes sense tea would be pressed before being shipped to save space. I would like to verify this before showing it around.
So the question..........can anyone verify that tea was shipped in this manner? Thanks!
Fascinating question! I love it when students bring in something for "show and tell" that raises a question and strikes up a serious discussion.
Since tea bags weren't invented until 1908, we know that they didn't ship tea bags during the American Revolutionary War. But, what about a compressed, rectangular brick with an design impression?
I'd love it if you were able to share a picture of the item your student brought to class. In the meantime, here is an interesting blog by Edna Barney in the Blogging the Revolution website. After reading the article and the comments, I still wonder about the history your student's block of tea.
I'll forward your post to the Smithsonian folks and see if they have anything more authoritative in response.
Thanks for sharing your question. Perhaps others have more from their research to offer on this topic.
Agreed, this is a good question! We've sent this to our Office of Curatorial Affairs to see if one of our curators can answer this for you. In the meantime, you may be interested in this image of a tea chest from the tea party, on view at the Boston Ships and Tea Party Museum.
National Museum of American History
Jane and Naomi...I own one of those tea blocks. I purchased it at President Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland Plantation in Charlottesville. The shop keepers told me this was how the tea came across the Atlantic in the tea chests. Compacted, they could get a whole lot more tea in a chest. Whether it is accurate information or not, I don't know, but that is the information being given out at Ash Lawn-Highland. Tea leaves will come off of it to the touch, and of course, if it would get crumbled, there would be many tea leaves in the chest that were lose.
Good morning. I attached two photos of the item – front and back. I placed it on an 8.5x11 inch sheet of white paper so you could estimate size. If you look at the front (the side with what I believe to be Chinese characters on it), the characters would be at the bottom and the stars at the top. Thank you for all your help – my US History class is excited to discover the answer. And this is a terrific lesson in verification of historical data. jb
PS: Just in case this helps……..it is exactly ¾ of an inch thick.
I have a response from one of our curators, Nancy Davis, but I should have more information shortly. Another of our curators, Paul Johnston, sent the question to former colleagues at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, and he said he's gotten responses from several scholars, including one in China. So, I'll post those additional responses as soon as Paul has a chance to compile them. In the meantime, here's the information from Nancy:
The Chinese did press tea into bricks and actually at some points (probably earlier 18th century) it was used as a medium of exchange. S. Wells Williams, writing of his experience in China in the mid-19th century in his book The Middle Kingdom noted that brick tea was most common in the western part of China and transported across the plateaus by caravans into Russia. He noted that "the damp leaves were pressed into a form of a brick or tile varying in size and weight eight to twelve inches long and one inch thick."
The brick tea is composed of more coarse leaves than those of southern China. It is likely that most of the tea that came into the Boston harbor was loose tea rather than in the form of bricks.
Please note that I sent the question out before you posted the images. I'll share those with our curators now.
National Museum of American History
I just checked in with Paul Johnston, and he says the additional responses he got about your questions about tea were just detailed versions of the info I already shared, so I hope it was useful. I'd love to hear more about the conversations you had with kids around the object and your search for information!
National Museum of American History
Thanksgiving is a big November holiday for citizens of the United States. What are you talking about with your students this month?
Please share your November Classroom Math Activities/Ideas with Patrick.
Thinkfinity Community Manager
A good discussion to have involves the misconceptions regarding Columbus's role in the Americas. I found an excellent link from CBS News, Five misconceptions about Columbus - CBS News.
Instructional Technology Teacher
Our 4th and 5th grade teachers decided to teach the election system without the "regular" candidates. Since most students don't have true knowledge to make a choice for president, etc. we used something they DO know a lot about...candy bars.
The 4th grade and 5th grade classes held primary elections to determine our candidates (Hershey's and Kit Kat.) Then we wrote persuasive speeches, made campaign posters, etc. and held a school-wide election on Nov. 5th. Students made ID cards and checked in at the polls with our student poll workers. Then they went to a "private" booth to cast a ballot.
Students were excited about the candidates and thrilled when the results were in...Kit Kat is our official candy bar!
As the Presidential Election season doesn't end in November, the process extends into the month of December. Teachers may want to explore the mysteries of Electoral College with students....EDSITEment has posted an updated feature on this theme: http://edsitement.neh.gov/electoral-college to help unravel one of the least understood aspects of the original Constitution.