Without a doubt, things change and sometimes, we even know why. I haven’t heard mention made of it, but I’ve noticed this year the conventions are much later than usual. I can remember when I was little we’d take vacations to visit family in Chicago and the outings would always be planned so that we would return in time to watch the convention. I know I didn’t want to watch them, but I knew they were important and exciting because my parents, aunts and uncles were all glued to the screen following and discussing every detail. Of course, that was when more of the convention was actually televised and the American public wasn’t pandered to with events meant to be more glamorous.
Perhaps having students back in school during this year’s convention will give teachers the opportunity to highlight the events in class. Even if students are too young to vote, they’re not too young to get excited about the process. I don’t remember ever being involved in a mock election but they sure do get young people to pay attention to the process!
Rock the Vote does too.
Election years are also good times to teach students about information literacy: how to find good sources of information
primary vs. secondary and tertiary sources
create information products
It can be difficult to find sources without bias, sometimes we just have to be able to recognize what the bias is. Factchecker.org can help with that. Politico tries to be unbiased and I’m going to believe NPR does, too. Students might want to follow the campaign of both candidates on Twitter and FB. It can’t hurt to know what the other guy is saying!
Not often political in natural, but a good place to get the conversation started is the Sociological Images blog. Click for an interesting piece about Oprah’s hair and another about the racializing impact of Romney’s welfare ads.
The more politically involved college students might be interested in learning how it all works by getting involved in their state legislature as an intern. I was reminded of the ones here in IN when I received a very informative newsletter from one of my congressmen. Students can apply for Republican or Democratic internships.
Finally, if you’ve moved be sure to update you voter’s registration!
I think I’ll work on a list of books featuring teens of color that relate to voting and politics. Any suggestions?